Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring

Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring
INSTALLING PREFINISHED BAMBOO
FLOORING
Congratulations on choosing prefinished bamboo as your new floor! When it comes to installing
bamboo flooring, you have a number of different options. This guide will help you determine
what is right for your floor to help ensure you have a successful installation.
If reading online, click on any item in this contents list or on any grey text in the document to jump to a specific section.
Installation Options.................................................. 2 Subfloor Type ........................................................ 3 Flooring Grade ....................................................... 4 Flooring Construction ............................................ 5 Tongue and Groove Type...................................... 8 Floor Installation Methods ..................................... 9 Ease of Installation .............................................. 10 Radiant Heat System Considerations ................. 10 Planning Your Installation.................................... 14 Consider Your Room Layout ............................... 14 Design Your Floor Layout .................................... 15 Factor in Waste ................................................... 15 Estimate Installation Time ................................... 16 Install Safely ........................................................17 Preparing for Installation...................................... 18 Performing a Moisture Test ................................. 18 Getting Your Flooring Delivered .......................... 22 Acclimatizing Your Flooring ................................. 22 Moisture Testing your Bamboo Flooring ............. 23 Inspecting Your Subfloor ..................................... 23 Undercutting Door Casings ................................. 27 Removing Molding and Doors ............................. 27 Understanding the Installation Basics................ 28 Allow for Expansion and Contraction .................. 28 Always Use an Underlayment ............................. 29 The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a
Great Floor .......................................................... 32 Stagger Joints for a Natural Look ........................ 34 Inspect All Planks Before Installation .................. 35 More Tips for a Successful Installation ................ 35 Glue Down Installation ......................................... 37 Tools and Materials ............................................. 37 Types of Adhesives ............................................. 38 Installing the Underlayment ................................. 39 Installing the First Row ........................................39 Installing the Rest of the Floor ............................. 42 Installing the Last Row ........................................ 43 Rolling the Floor .................................................. 44 Letting the Floor Set ............................................ 44 Nail/Staple Down Installation ............................. 45 Tools and Materials ............................................. 45 Fasteners Types and Fastening Machines ......... 46 Installing the Underlayment ................................. 48 Installing the First Row ........................................ 48 Installing the Rest of the Floor............................. 50 Installing the Last Few Rows............................... 51 Letting the Floor Set ............................................ 52 Floating Installation for Click Lock Flooring ...53 Tools and Materials ............................................. 53 Installing the Underlayment ................................. 53 Installing the First Row ........................................ 54 Installing the Rest of the Floor............................. 55 Installing the Last Row ........................................ 56 Letting the Floor Set ............................................ 56 Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring ..57 Tools and Materials ............................................. 57 Types of Adhesives ............................................. 58 Installing the Underlayment ................................. 58 Installing the First Row ........................................ 59 Installing the Rest of the Floor............................. 60 Installing the Last Row ........................................ 61 Letting the Floor Set ............................................ 62 Special Circumstance Installation........................63 Types of Trim, Molding and Transition Pieces .... 63 Molding Installation Methods ............................... 64 Using T-Molding for Interior Doorways ................ 65 Using End Molding for Exterior Doorways .......... 66 Working around Vents ......................................... 67 Installing Bamboo Flooring on Stairs .................. 67 Working around Fireplaces and Brickwork .......... 73 Using End Molding for Carpet Transitions .......... 74 Using Flush Reducer for Vinyl Transitions .......... 75 Using Overlap Reducer for Vinyl Transitions ...... 75 Finishing the Job .....................................................76 Installing Wall Base and Quarter Round Trim ..... 76 Correcting Defects ............................................... 77 Sealing Moisture Prone Areas............................. 77 Copyright and Usage Information .......................78 Legal Disclaimer and Liability Release ..............79 © 2008 FindAnyFloor.com. All rights reserved. All FindAnyFloor.com content (PDF’s, text,
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 2
INSTALLATION OPTIONS
There are a number of options to consider when choosing the type of bamboo flooring and
installation method for your home including:
•
Subfloor Type
•
Flooring Grade
•
Flooring Construction
•
Tongue and Groove Type
•
Floor Installation Methods
•
Ease of Installation
•
Radiant Heat System Considerations
Use this quick reference table to help you determine the best flooring and installation method for
your specific situation.
Flooring Grade
Bamboo Flooring Type
Above
On
Solid T&G
X
X
Engineered T&G
X
X
Engineered
Click Lock
X
X
Subfloor Type
Below
Installation Method
Wood
Concrete
Radiant
Glue
Nail/Staple
X
X
X*
X
X
X†
X
X
X*
X
X
X†
X
X
X*
Floating
X
X
*Check with your flooring manufacturer before installing over a radiant heat system.
†
Below Grade installations may be acceptable for certain types of bamboo flooring if certain precautions are taken to protect the
bamboo floor from moisture. ALWAYS check with your flooring manufacturer before installing Below Grade.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 3
Subfloor Type
The subfloor is the structure upon which you will be installing your bamboo floor. It’s important to
choose the correct installation method for the type of subfloor you have.
Wood
Wood subfloors are plywood, plyboard, existing hardwood flooring or Oriental Strand Board
(OSB). These types of subfloors could be above crawl spaces, on the second level of a home or
placed over concrete. Installation methods for a wood subfloor include glue down, nail/staple
down or floating for engineered and click lock flooring.
‡
NOTE: Particleboard is not considered a wood floor. Bamboo flooring should not be
installed over particleboard subfloors unless specifically approved by the flooring
manufacturer.
Concrete
Concrete or cement subfloors can be found in homes with solid foundations or in
apartments/condos. Installation methods for concrete subfloors include glue down for solid and
engineered tongue and groove bamboo flooring or floating floors for engineered and click lock
bamboo flooring. You can also install a moisture barrier on top of the concrete subfloor then
either nail or glue plywood above the moisture barrier to use a nail/staple installation method.
D TIP: While a 30 day old concrete slab may pass a moisture test, it is best to wait until
the slab is 60-90 days old before testing and installing your flooring.
Radiant Heat
Always check with your retailer or manufacturer to ensure the type of bamboo you
choose can be installed over a radiant heat system. Radiant heating affects the temperature,
moisture and humidity of the flooring. Over time, these factors can cause problems if your
flooring was not designed to be installed over a radiant heating system.
For more information on bamboo flooring and radiant heat systems, see the Radiant Heat
System Considerations section on page 10.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 4
Laying Over Existing Flooring
Always follow the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations when installing your bamboo floor
over an existing solid floor. In most cases, you can install bamboo:
•
Using the glue down method over porcelain tile, ceramic tile or porous stone (like
travertine or slate). Do not use the glue down method over high gloss stone (such a
marble) because the surface is not porous enough to bond well with the flooring
adhesive.
•
Using the staple method over existing hardwood or vinyl floors.
D TIP: Existing sheet vinyl floors can act as an added moisture barrier between your
subfloor and your bamboo floor. Peel and stick vinyl does not provide an adequate
moisture barrier because of the potential for moisture to seep up between each
square.
Additionally, be aware of asbestos if you are removing existing flooring. Some
older flooring products contain asbestos which can contaminate your home or office
if removed. If you find asbestos in your existing flooring, do not remove it. Follow all
federal, state and local guidelines for containment.
Flooring Grade
There are three different flooring grades to consider
when installing bamboo flooring:
•
Above Grade: Flooring installed on a second
floor of a home or above.
•
On Grade: Flooring installed on the ground
level of a home.
•
Below Grade: Flooring installed below the
ground level of a home (such as basements).
‡
NOTE: If the soil that surrounds the home is 3 or more inches above the floor on
any level, that level is considered Below Grade.
Most bamboo flooring is approved for Above Grade or On Grade installations. Some retailers
may say Below Grade installations are acceptable; however, ALWAYS check with the flooring
manufacturer. The moisture and humidity levels in Below Grade environments greatly affect the
stability of bamboo flooring.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 5
Flooring Construction
There are two types of bamboo flooring planks available: solid bamboo and engineered
bamboo. Choosing between the two is a personal preference as both types have:
•
Visual Appeal: Both types of flooring preserves bamboo’s natural characteristics
including stains, surface and other bamboo-specific features. Solid flooring and some
engineered flooring also comes in different widths which allows you to further customize
the flooring to your home.
D TIP: Narrow boards are considered more formal whereas wider boards produce a
more comfortable, country look.
•
Resiliency: Finished solid and engineered bamboo flooring is coated with a series of
finish layers that resist scratches and dents. The most commonly used factory finish is an
Aluminum Oxide wear layer hardened with a urethane topcoat.
No matter which type you choose, only a flooring professional (or a nosey neighbor) will know
what you choose once your floor is installed.
Solid Bamboo Flooring
Since bamboo does not grow as solid planks like
other hardwoods, solid bamboo flooring is actually
an engineered floor in that it is made up of many
layers of bamboo strips which are glued closely
together with a high-quality adhesive under heat
and pressure. The result is a durable, solid bamboo
plank. Since the entire piece of flooring is made
from bamboo (and not bamboo plus other woods
like engineered bamboo flooring), this type of
flooring is generally referred to as solid bamboo
flooring.
‡
NOTE: Manufacturers use various types of adhesives. Check with your manufacturer to
ensure the adhesive used is water resistant, does not contain toxic chemicals and has
low amounts of formaldehyde as approved under E-1 standards.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 6
Many people prefer solid bamboo flooring over engineered bamboo flooring for a couple
reasons:
•
Longevity: Quality solid bamboo flooring is designed to last because it has a thick wear
layer. Additionally, solid flooring can be sanded and re-finished multiple times which
results in “new” looking floors.
•
Quality: Some homeowners are of the opinion that solid flooring is a better quality floor
than engineered flooring. However, with today’s advances in the flooring manufacturing
process, differences in quality are negligible between good-quality engineered bamboo
flooring and good-quality solid bamboo flooring.
•
Tradition: Many homeowners choose solid bamboo flooring because it complements
the tradition of the home.
Engineered Bamboo Flooring
Engineered bamboo flooring differs from solid bamboo flooring because only the top layer (or
wear layer) is made of bamboo. Engineered bamboo flooring is composed of between three and
eleven layers of bamboo and wood glued or
laminated together, much like plywood. This crosslaminating process forms an extremely strong,
durable floor. Engineered bamboo floors usually have
a wear layer and one or more backing and core
layers that provide dimensional stability. Engineered
bamboo flooring cores can be made of HDF like
laminate flooring or can be composed of strips of
wood that run perpendicular to the top layer (which
adds stability).
D TIP: More layers usually results in additional stability.
Choosing engineered bamboo flooring has a couple of advantages over solid bamboo flooring:
•
Economical: Engineered bamboo flooring is made up of several different types of
bamboo and woods. Since the top or wear layer is the only one that is seen, often times
you can purchase an expensive looking floor for less than the cost of a solid floor.
•
Durable: Inexpensive pine, spruce, birch, rubberwood or HDF make up the sturdy core of
engineered flooring.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
•
More Installation Locations: During the manufacturing process, the layers of
engineered flooring alternate depending on the direction of the grain. This process helps
to neutralize bamboo’s natural tendency to warp, contract, expand or cup. This means
that engineered floors may be installed in rooms where solid flooring cannot, such as
basements or areas with a higher moisture or humidity content.
‡
•
Page 7
NOTE: Not all engineered flooring can be installed in basements or areas with
higher moisture/humidity content. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for
installation.
Environmentally Friendly: Since engineered bamboo flooring only uses a fraction of the
surface species as compared to solid, it is more environmentally friendly.
Refinishing Engineered Flooring
Today’s engineered bamboo floors are usually finished with
Aluminum Oxide to help ensure the flooring is durable for
longer periods of time so that refinishing is not needed as
often if the floor is cared for properly. Typically, engineered
bamboo flooring cannot be refinished as many times as solid
bamboo since engineered bamboo is made up of layers of
different materials and solid flooring is all the same material.
Be sure you know how thick the bamboo wear layer is for
your engineered flooring as you do not want to sand past the
bamboo into the other woods. If your floor has a thick bamboo
layer or you have a solid bamboo floor you can still only sand
the flooring to between 1/16” and 3/32” above the tongue and
groove. If you sand any closer to the tongue and groove, you
affect the way the flooring is put and held together.
However, if your bamboo floor (both solid bamboo and engineered bamboo) has lost its sheen
or the bamboo is becoming discolored in certain areas (such as from water damage or other
types of wear), you should consider refinishing the floor to prevent any further damage and to
restore the “new” look of your bamboo floor.
‡
NOTE: Not all engineered bamboo flooring can be refinished. Always follow the
manufacturer’s guidelines for care and maintenance.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 8
Tongue and Groove Type
Bamboo flooring is available in two different plank types: traditional tongue and groove and click
lock tongue and groove.
Traditional Tongue and Groove Bamboo
Tongue and groove (T&G) bamboo is the traditional way bamboo flooring planks are milled for
assembly. On each board, one side has a tongue and the other side has a groove. When placed
together, the tongue of one plank fits into the groove of another providing a seamless floor.
Tongue and groove floors can be glued or nailed/stapled down. Engineered bamboo tongue and
groove can sometimes be floated as long as the tongues and grooves are glued together during
installation.
‡
NOTE: Always check with your flooring manufacturer to ensure their tongue and
groove product can be installed as a floating floor.
Click Lock Tongue and Groove Bamboo
Some engineered bamboo flooring is available with a click lock (also called glueless) system
that enables the floor to be installed as a floating floor. A click lock installation is a good choice if
you’re looking for any easy way to install a beautiful floor yourself. No glue, nails or staples are
required.
For this type of installation, each plank is precisely manufactured so that it slides together and
locks with another plank (a lot like a puzzle). Boards automatically align once clicked together.
Click lock floors can be installed on top of most existing hard surface floors (as a floating floor)
as long as the existing floor is level. Once installed, the floor is stable and will not move around
or come apart.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 9
Floor Installation Methods
There are a couple different ways to install bamboo flooring. Always take your subfloor into
consideration when choosing an installation method.
Glue Down Method
The glue down method is a simple, yet messier, way for non-professional installers to install
tongue and groove bamboo flooring. With this method, you’ll use a high-quality flooring adhesive
(urethane adhesives are recommended) to attach each bamboo flooring plank to the subfloor.
The glue down method can be used for concrete or wood subfloors. The glue down method can
also be used when installing engineered bamboo flooring over a radiant heating system. Always
check with both the adhesive and flooring manufacturers to ensure that you can use both
products above a radiant heat system.
Nail/Staple Method
The nail or staple method is the method most used by professional installers when installing
tongue and groove bamboo flooring over wood subfloors. Specialized nail or staple guns are
required. This method can be used for concrete floors if plywood (¾ inch recommended) and a
vapor barrier are secured to the concrete as a sleeper/screed system. The nail/staple method
can also be used above a sleeper system for radiant heating.
Floating Method
Floating floors are used most often with engineered click lock bamboo flooring although
engineered tongue and groove bamboo can be floated by gluing the tongues and grooves
together. No special tools are required for this type of installation. Engineered bamboo click lock
flooring can be installed over wood, concrete, existing hardwood or existing vinyl subfloors.
Installing floating floors with solid tongue and groove bamboo is usually not recommended
because of stability issues.
‡
NOTE: If you are considering installing a floating floor using solid or engineered
tongue and groove bamboo flooring, be sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty.
Some warranty options may be voided if this type of installation method is used.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 10
Ease of Installation
With the many different installation options available, it can be hard to determine what method
and flooring type is the easiest or hardest to install. The following table lists the various
installation methods from easiest to most complex.
Complexity Level
Flooring Type
Installation Method
Easiest
Click Lock Engineered Bamboo
Floating Floor
Moderately Complex
Solid or Engineered T&G Bamboo
Glue Down
Moderately Complex
Engineered T&G Bamboo
Floating Floor
Complex
Solid or Engineered T&G Bamboo
Nail/Staple Down
Radiant Heat System Considerations
Radiant heat systems heat homes from beneath the flooring. There are three main types of
radiant heat systems:
•
Radiant air where air heats the flooring. Because air is a poor conductor of heat, this
method is not very cost effective for homes.
•
Electric radiant where electric currents provide the heat. These types of systems usually
come as mats that are laid beneath or embedded into the subfloor.
•
Hydronic radiant systems (also called liquid systems) where heated water is pushed
through tubing or piping installed in a concrete slab or below a subfloor.
Each of these systems can be installed by two different methods:
•
Wet installation where the piping is installed directly in a concrete slab or in lightweight
concrete above a wood subfloor.
•
Dry installation where the piping is installed between two layers of plywood or attached
directly below the subfloor. When installing between layers of plywood, aluminum
diffusers are often used to distribute the heat evenly across the subfloor. When installing
below a subfloor, reflective insulation may be used to direct heat upward into the floor.
Always check with your retailer or manufacturer to ensure the type of bamboo you
choose can be installed over a radiant heat system. Radiant heating affects the temperature,
moisture and humidity of the flooring. Over time, these factors can cause problems if your
flooring was not designed to be installed over a radiant heating system.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 11
Certain types of bamboo flooring are generally more suited for a radiant heat subfloor:
•
Engineered bamboo flooring is a better choice since it is more dimensionally stable than
solid flooring.
•
Certain species of bamboo are more stable than others.
D TIP: If purchasing engineered flooring for a radiant heat subfloor, make sure you
know the different types of bamboo and woods that make up the engineered
flooring.
•
Narrow flooring planks are usually more dimensionally stable than wide flooring planks.
‡
NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when choosing and installing
flooring for a radiant heat system.
Bamboo Flooring Installation Options for Hydronic Radiant Heat Systems
The installation method you choose for installing your bamboo floor over radiant heating
systems varies depending on the type of flooring and radiant heat system you have. Some
bamboo flooring can be glued directly to a concrete radiant slab, while others must have a
sleeper system installed.
A sleeper, or screed, system is like a subfloor above your radiant heat system. Since radiant
heating systems produce heat that accelerates the drying process of bamboo floors, some
flooring needs this additional barrier in place to protect the floor.
Below are the different types of installations and considerations for bamboo floors above radiant
heating systems.
Glue Down Installations
Engineered flooring over a concrete radiant heat system.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 12
Nail/Staple Installations
Solid or engineered bamboo flooring nailed directly to a wood
subfloor over joists or sleepers.
Solid or engineered bamboo flooring nailed directly to a wood
sleeper system.
‡ NOTE: This is the quickest way to heat a subfloor;
however, this method tends to cause your bamboo
floor to expand and contract more because the heat
source is so close to the flooring.
*
Solid tongue and groove bamboo nailed directly to the sleeper.
Solid tongue and groove bamboo nailed to a single layer of ¾”
plywood.
Solid tongue and groove bamboo nailed to a double layer of ½”
plywood.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Installation Options
Page 13
Floating Installations
Engineered bamboo floated over a radiant heat slab.
‡ NOTE: Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s instructions when choosing which
installation method to use above your type of radiant heat system.
When installing a bamboo floor over a radiant heating system, all the same installation steps are
required including moisture testing, acclimatizing your flooring and installing an underlayment. In
addition to your flooring manufacturer’s instructions, you should also keep these things in mind:
•
Some manufacturer’s recommend operating the heating system at normal living
conditions for at least 28 days prior to the installation. During this time, you would lay the
bamboo flooring out as it would be installed on the floor and operate the heating system
as normal over a 28 day period to acclimatize the flooring.
•
Keep the heating system off for two days before and during the installation, unless
otherwise directed by your flooring manufacturer. Many manufacturer’s recommend the
floor be kept between 64° F and 68° F during the installation.
•
Gradually increase the heat setting two days after the installation as directed by your
flooring manufacturer.
•
Keep the subfloor surface temperature below 85° F.
•
Anticipate that your bamboo floor will shrink during the heating season due to moisture
loss.
•
Remember that solid bamboo flooring of 4 inches and wider is not recommended for use
over sleeper systems.
•
The overall temperature of the room must not vary more than 15° F during the year. The
relative humidity should stay between 35% and 65% year round.
•
Some manufacturers do not recommend using the glue down method for radiant heating.
Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s instructions when choosing an installation
method.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Planning Your Installation
Page 14
PLANNING YOUR INSTALLATION
Using the Advanced Estimator tool through FindAnyFloor.com is one of the best ways to
estimate and plan your flooring project. When using the Advanced Estimator tool and this guide,
you will:
•
Consider Your Room Layout
•
Design Your Floor Layout
•
Factor in Waste
•
Estimate Installation Time
•
Install Safely
You should begin planning your installation before you receive or open one box of your new
bamboo flooring to ensure you have enough materials on hand when installation day rolls
around.
Measuring accurately, using sketches or drawings of your installation area and having the
proper tools on hand will also make your installation go much smoother. Remember, the more
you plan in the beginning, the fewer obstacles and surprises you’ll probably run into during your
installation.
Consider Your Room Layout
Is the room a standard square or rectangle or is it an odd shaped room? Will you be working
around fixed objects (such as “islands” in kitchens) or is the room relatively open? Take floor
vents, doorways and stairs into consideration.
If you have a complex room, take the time to do more detailed drawings and measurements.
Identify the areas that will take more time and planning. Spend time thinking about how you’ll
layout those areas. Measure the area and write your measurements on your drawing or in your
notes. Measure again or have someone else verify your measurements to make sure they are
accurate. Also, using the Advanced Estimator tool on FindAnyFloor.com can help you determine
the best layout for your room.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Planning Your Installation
Page 15
Design Your Floor Layout
How will you orient the bamboo floor? Where are the windows and doorways? Which is the
longest side of the room? Is the room narrow or broad?
Professional installers generally recommend
laying bamboo flooring parallel to the light sources
in the room (left image). For narrow rooms or
hallways, bamboo flooring generally looks the best
with planks oriented along the length of the area
(right image).
If possible, try to run the bamboo flooring so that it
is perpendicular to the floor joists. This provides
the floor with extra stability. However, if faced with
a decision, professionals will usually agree that laying flooring parallel to light sources is more
important and aesthetically pleasing than the added stability.
Factor in Waste
Anytime you install flooring, there will always be a certain amount of waste. Waste can be due
to:
•
Odd shapes in the room that you must work around.
•
Bamboo boards that have major defects.
•
Installation mistakes.
•
Type of installation (straight vs. diagonal).
Non-professional installers should account for a waste factor of between 10%-15% for standard,
horizontal installations. For diagonal or other complex installations, factor in 20% or more as
these types of installations produce more waste because of the different types of cuts required.
The Advanced Estimator tool on FindAnyFloor.com can help you determine how much bamboo
flooring you need to complete your flooring project.
Be sure to factor waste into your original purchase. Since bamboo is a natural product, there
may be variations between boards in each box. If you do not purchase enough to begin with,
you may have to go back and purchase more during your installation or be forced to use all
boards regardless of their condition. This could cause parts of your floor to look patchy.
And remember, you should always end up with extra flooring at the end of your project.
Over the life of the floor you may need to replace boards that get damaged from use.
Additionally, vendors continually add and discontinue the types of flooring they offer. There is no
guarantee that your flooring vendor will carry your exact bamboo flooring in the future.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Planning Your Installation
Page 16
Estimate Installation Time
There is no hard and fast rule for installing or completing any flooring project. Factors that affect
installation time vary widely and include:
•
Experience level: If this is your first time installing a bamboo floor, it may take you longer
than a non-professional who has already done one or more installations.
•
Room complexity: Simple rooms, on average, take less time than rooms with complex
floor plans.
•
Installation method: Installation times are different depending on the type of flooring
(solid bamboo flooring vs. engineered bamboo flooring, tongue and groove vs. click lock)
and the installation method (glue vs. nail/staple vs. floating).
•
Assistance available: If you are the only one working on the project, it will probably take
longer than if you have help. However, too much help can also inhibit progress.
•
Amount of planning: Generally, the more planning you do, the less time your project will
take. Planning helps you identify your problem areas so that you can plan what to do
before you get to them.
Rarely do home improvement projects go smoothly. Even professionals have bad days or run
into unexpected problems. Remember:
•
It’s going to take longer than you expect. Plan your installation with adequate time to
run over schedule. Try not to begin an installation on a tight schedule (such with holidays
around the corner or a major dinner party the following weekend). Take your time and
don’t rush.
•
You’re going to make mistakes. That’s part of what you factored in for waste. Don’t get
too hung up on it. Remember, even pros make miscalculations and mistakes. Correct it
and move on.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Planning Your Installation
Page 17
Install Safely
Safety should be taken into account for any flooring project. When installing your bamboo
flooring, use the following guidelines to ensure a safe working environment.
•
Read and follow all the flooring manufacturer’s guidelines when installing your bamboo
flooring.
•
Wear the proper clothing and work boots or tennis shoes.
•
Wear OSHA approved safety glasses and hearing protection.
•
Wear other personal protective equipment such as knee pads, shin guards, gloves and/or
respirators when necessary.
•
Do not work under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other medications which can impair
your decision making ability.
•
Keep your work area clear from clutter and debris. Clutter and debris are not only tripping
hazards but can scratch and damage your new bamboo floor.
•
Make sure the room has proper ventilation and lighting.
•
Be sure the electrical power to the area you’re working in can support any electric tools
you’re using.
•
Have a first aid kit on hand or nearby.
•
Use all tools and machinery as intended by the manufacturer with safety guards in place.
D TIP: Some professional installers also use mallet ties. A mallet tie is a piece of string or
shoe lace where one end is tied to the handle of the mallet and the other is tied to your
wrist. If you lose your grip on the mallet, the mallet tie helps ensure the tool doesn’t go
flying through the air (possibly breaking a window, injuring someone on the jobsite or
landing on and damaging your new floor).
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 18
PREPARING FOR INSTALLATION
While installing your bamboo flooring should be one of the last steps in any building, remodel or
re-decorating process, there are a few things you must do to prepare your subfloor and bamboo
flooring before you get started:
•
Performing a Moisture Test
•
Getting Your Flooring Delivered
•
Acclimatizing Your Flooring
•
Moisture Testing your Bamboo Flooring
•
Inspecting Your Subfloor
•
Undercutting Door Casings
•
Removing Molding and Doors
Performing a Moisture Test
Moisture testing is an extremely important part of the installation process. If the flooring or the
subfloor is too moist, you can run into installation problems as well as expansion/contraction
issues in the years to come.
Moisture testing should be performed BEFORE your bamboo flooring is delivered. You may
have to take steps to reduce the subfloor moisture content before you install your floor.
Additionally, if the moisture content of your subfloor exceeds the recommended amounts, your
bamboo may acclimatize to the wrong conditions. You should also take additional moisture
readings the day before and the day of your installation. Excessive moisture under a bamboo
floor can be costly to repair and correct in the years to come.
Types of Moisture Meters
There two main types of moisture meters:
•
Probe: When pushed into the plank parallel with the grain, this device
measures the electrical resistance across opposed sets of pins. Some
meters come with insulated pins that when pushed into the plank will
measure the moisture content at the varying depths of the board. This
can help you to know if the moisture is concentrated in any one area of
the flooring.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
•
Page 19
Pinless: This device sends a signal through the bamboo up to 1
inch or more (similar to an ultrasound). The device is moved across
the surface of the subfloor or flooring to measure for pockets of
moisture. Pinless meters generally have a deeper depth than probe
meters. If measuring moisture in an installed floor, this type of
device may register moisture in the flooring as well as the subfloor.
For any moisture meter you choose, be sure that it has a moisture content range of between 6%
and 30%. Additionally, always follow the meter manufacturer's recommendations for calibration
and reading.
Moisture meters are used mainly for wood subfloors and flooring. Depending on the
manufacturer’s recommendations, some models may be used to measure moisture in concrete
slabs. However, even if the meter registers an acceptable range for concrete, still perform a
simple polyethylene moisture test (see the Testing Concrete Subfloors for Moisture section
on page 20). Additional testing for concrete slabs could save you a lot of time and money if on
the rare occasion a meter registers an incorrect moisture reading.
Testing Wood Subfloors for Moisture
When performing moisture tests on wood subfloors, use a calibrated moisture meter approved
by the manufacturer for testing wood subfloors. Moisture ranges depend on the width of the
flooring you are installing.
•
For flooring up to 3” wide, readings between the wood subfloor and the bamboo flooring
should have no more than a 4% difference.
•
For flooring more than 3” wide, readings between the wood subfloor and the bamboo
flooring should have no more than a 2% difference.
Example: You’re installing 3” wide flooring over a wood subfloor. If your subfloor
has a 10% moisture reading, the flooring should have a 7%-13% moisture reading.
Flooring that is 6% or 14% is borderline acceptable. Moisture readings below 6%
or above 14% could pose major installation problems and long-term headaches.
Additionally, you should take into account the area in which you live and any special
circumstances your area encounters. More humid areas of the country have different moisture
content allowances than drier climates. Also, living near an ocean, lake or golf course can cause
higher humidity rates. For more information, go to FindAnyFloor.com to view a climate map of
the US and the typical moisture content allowances for various areas.
When testing a wood floor for moisture, take multiple readings in the area where the floor will be
installed. Sometimes one area of the floor will be within range while another area will not. Also,
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 20
pay attention to readings along exterior walls or near plumbing fixtures. Since these areas have
the most potential for seepage, accurate readings are essential.
If your moisture readings are above the recommended 4% for flooring less than 3” wide or 2%
for flooring over 3” wide, DO NOT install the bamboo floor. You must find the cause of the
moisture and fix it before beginning the installation. Excessive moisture in wood subfloors may
be caused by a plumbing leak or may be the result of the area under the wood subfloor being
too moist.
D TIP: Improper irrigation (such as sprinklers and gutters around the house) is one of the
biggest causes for excessive moisture under a subfloor. Be sure all sprinklers and gutters
have proper run off routes so water and excessive moisture does not collect below the
home.
Considerations for Wood Subfloors over Crawl Spaces
If your home has wood floors over crawl spaces, pier and beam construction or is a
manufactured home, you may have to take additional steps to control moisture below the wood
subfloor. Check with your flooring manufacturer to see if any of the following conditions must be
met:
•
Opening all vents to ensure proper air circulation below the wood subfloor.
•
Laying a 6-8 mil polyethylene moisture barrier or other waterproof underlayment on the
ground beneath the wood subfloor.
D TIP: When laying a moisture barrier on the ground, overlap seams and secure with
waterproof tape (such as duct tape).
‡
NOTE: In areas with high rainfall (like the Pacific Northwest), some homeowners also
install crawl space fans to help ensure their crawl spaces are kept dry and mold free.
Testing Concrete Subfloors for Moisture
Moisture testing for concrete subfloors is a little more complicated than for wood subfloors.
There are three different types of tests you can perform.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 21
Polyethylene Moisture Test
The Polyethylene Moisture test is an easy way to perform a moisture test on a slab that is at
least 30 days old. Duct tape several 12 inch by 12 inch pieces of polyethylene in various places
on the concrete slab for 24-48 hours. A clear garbage bag or clear plastic sheeting works well.
When taping, be sure the squares are taped all the way around so no air can escape. If after 24
to 48 hours any condensation forms on the plastic or if the concrete darkens, you must perform
a Calcium Chloride and pH Alkalinity test. These results indicate that your subfloor may contain
too much moisture to safely install your bamboo flooring. If neither of these things happens, the
concrete subfloor is ready for your bamboo flooring.
‡
NOTE: Even if you have a successful polyethylene test, you should consider a Calcium
Chloride test to ensure it is safe to install your new bamboo floor.
Calcium Chloride and pH Alkalinity Tests
Calcium Chloride and pH Alkalinity tests are far more accurate than the polyethylene test and
supplies can be purchased online or at stores that specializes in concrete tools and/or flooring.
These tests measure the moisture emissions and the alkalinity of the concrete slab. Perform
each test according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Acceptable readings for each are:
•
Calcium Chloride = 3 lbs per 24 hours per 1,000 square feet of moisture emissions
or 1.5 lbs per 24 hours per 1,000 square feet for radiant heat floors
•
pH Alkalinity = 6 to 9 on a pH scale of 1-14
If either of these tests exceeds these recommended results, you should seal your concrete
subfloor with an appropriate sealer which can be purchased at your local flooring retailer or any
home improvement store. Once the sealer has cured, you should re-test to ensure moisture
levels are within acceptable limits. If after sealing your concrete you are still having moisture
issues, talk to a flooring professional for additional guidelines and testing procedures.
‡
NOTE: Not all bamboo flooring can be installed directly over a concrete subfloor.
Some require a plywood and polyfilm vapor barrier be attached to the slab. Always
follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing over a concrete subfloor. If
you are using a sealer, make sure that product will not interfere with the adhesive if
you are using the glue down method. Remember: Bamboo should NEVER be installed
directly over concrete without some sort of moisture barrier in place!
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 22
Getting Your Flooring Delivered
Once your subfloor passes all moisture testing, it’s time to get your flooring delivered. Flooring
should be at the installation site between 2 and 7 days before you plan on beginning your
installation depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations. Once delivered, your flooring
needs time to acclimatize to your home’s environment.
Acclimatizing Your Flooring
Most bamboo flooring needs an environment that is between 60° and 80° F with a relatively
humidity of between 35% and 65%. Prior to installation, you must make sure the bamboo is
acclimatized to your home’s average living environment. You should always store and
acclimatize your bamboo in the room in which it will be installed.
Additionally, follow these guidelines when acclimatizing your new bamboo floor:
•
The home or building must be fully enclosed. This is especially important when installing
in newly built homes.
‡
NOTE: If installing on a concrete subfloor, the concrete must be at least 30 days
old.
•
Using either a heater or air conditioner, keep the environment where the floor will be
installed at a normal “living” level for at least five days. If the room is more moist, dry, hot
or cold than normal, your floor may acclimatize incorrectly which could lead to expansion
or contraction problems later on.
•
Read and follow all the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimatizing your new bamboo
flooring. Not doing so may void the flooring manufacturer’s warranty.
•
If recommended by the manufacturer, break the flooring into small piles in the center of
the room where it will be installed. Place 1” sticks between each layer of flooring to help
with air flow. Or simply open the ends of the package to allow air to flow more freely.
D TIP: If using 1” sticks to aid with air flow, place sticks carefully so you do not scratch
the finish of your new bamboo.
‡
•
NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimatizing your flooring.
Some flooring does NOT need to be removed from the packaging to acclimatize.
If opening the package is not recommended by the manufacturer, stack cartons with
spacers according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 23
•
Always store bamboo flooring away from outside walls, windows, doors and air vents.
•
NEVER store your new flooring in a garage, even if the garage is climate controlled. Even
when climate controlled, garages have different moisture conditions than your installation
area.
•
Make sure your bamboo flooring is out of direct sunlight at all times.
D TIP: Direct sunlight can cause your bamboo flooring to acclimatize incorrectly, warp
and darken. If you’re using sticks to separate your bamboo flooring and the
flooring is stored in direct sunlight, the bamboo may darken except where the sticks
are placed leaving stripes. While many times these stripes may fade, play it safe
and store your bamboo flooring away from of direct sunlight.
Moisture Testing your Bamboo Flooring
Most manufacturers recommend moisture testing your bamboo flooring after it arrives and is
acclimatized. Using a probe or pinless meter, take moisture reading in several places. You
should always test both edges of the bamboo flooring as well as the middle. Test various
bamboo flooring planks in each box to ensure all of your flooring is within the manufacturer’s
recommended limits.
Inspecting Your Subfloor
While your bamboo floor is acclimatizing, you should inspect and prepare your subfloor. Your
subfloor should be:
•
Dry and have passed all moisture testing requirements.
•
Free from all debris and swept clean.
•
Smooth and level. If the floor is not level, take the necessary steps to level the floor.
•
Free from contaminants (such as oil, wax, grease and paint) which might interfere with
the installation method.
•
Structurally sound. Fix or replace any damaged areas. Nail or screw down any areas that
are loose or where you feel movement.
Additionally, always make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s specific instructions for preparing
your subfloor. Improperly prepared subfloors may void the flooring manufacturer’s warranty.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
Page 24
Leveling Your Subfloor
A level, or flat, subfloor is one that is free from peaks and valleys no matter how small. These
imperfections can be caused by a number of things from the concrete slab not being perfectly
flat or drywall splatters on the floor that were not scraped up. Whatever the cause, it’s your job
to fix or remove the imperfections so the floor is completely flat.
Before you begin finding your imperfections, make sure the floor is scraped and swept clean of
all drywall mud, paint splatters and any other debris.
Finding the Imperfections
The first step to leveling your subfloor is finding the imperfections. Many manufacturers
recommend that your subfloor not have a variance of more than 3/16” over a 10’ section of
subfloor. An easy way to find imperfections in your subfloor for both concrete and wood
subfloors is using an 8-10’ piece of straight lumber. While a perfectly straight piece of lumber is
sometimes hard to find, take the time to look. Unlevel subfloors can cause your new bamboo
floor to squeak or have soft, squishy spots.
Once you find your lumber, start at one end of the room and lay the straightest side of the
lumber down on the subfloor. From ground level look to see if there are any gaps between the
lumber and the subfloor. Mark those with a pencil.
Next touch each end of the lumber. Does it rock or tip to one side? Can you feel the piece of
wood move if you press one side to the floor? If there is any movement, find the high spot and
mark it with a pencil.
Make your way methodically across the room with the lumber, observing and marking the
imperfections in the subfloor.
Leveling Low Spots in Concrete Subfloors
If you found low spots or dips in your concrete subfloor, you’ll fix them using a self-leveling
compound, or floor patch. Self-leveling compounds are like quick-set concrete. DO NOT use
regular cement products as they do not set and cure fast enough. Only use self-leveling
compounds that indicate they have quick drying times and are made specifically for leveling
floors. These can be purchased at many flooring or home improvement stores.
Ì IMPORTANT: When using self-leveling compound, you must wait an additional 24-48
hours before installing your floor so you can perform the proper moisture tests on the
newly leveled areas.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
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1. Prepare the self-leveling compound together in a bucket following the manufacturer’s
instructions. Make sure you are outside or in an area where it won’t matter if some of
the compound splashes out of the bucket. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
when mixing the compound. Some recommend adding the water after the compound is
added while others recommend adding water before.
‡
NOTE: Because these products set so quickly, do not prepare the compound until
you are ready to begin using the product on your floor.
D TIP: Mix only small batches of compound at a time so it does not dry in the bucket
or on tools before it is all used up.
d
2. Mix the compound using a paddle-type mixture. These can be purchased as a drill
attachment at most home improvement stores. You want the mixture to be similar in
consistency to a milkshake.
3. Place your straight piece of lumber at the edge of the place you will be leveling. Pour
some of the leveling compound on the spot to be leveled. Use a trowel to fill in all the
low areas. Quickly after you’ve spread the compound, move the lumber across the area
you just leveled to ensure it is flat. If it is not, add more compound. If the area is now
too high, quickly scrape away compound.
D TIP: This part of the process works best with two people – one person working with
the compound and one person working with the straight lumber.
d
4. Work quickly across the floor filling in all the low spots with compound and ensuring
they are flat with the lumber.
If you run out of compound, clean up the bucket and tools then mix another small batch.
5. Once all the low spots are filled, take your lumber and re-assess the areas you just
leveled to make sure you don’t need to add additional compound. If you still find low
areas, mix another batch of compound and add more to the top of the dried compound.
6. After the compound is completely dry and set, perform a polyethylene, Calcium
Chloride and/or pH Alkalinity test on each newly leveled area. Follow all the same
guidelines for this moisture test as you did when moisture testing the whole slab.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
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Leveling High Spots in Concrete Subfloors
Use a grinder or sander to level high spots in concrete subfloors. If you don’t own one, these
can be rented from many equipment rental stores. When grinding, always wear a respirator as
concrete produces a lot of dust. Wetting the slab before you begin sanding can also help control
the dust. If you are working on an addition to a home, make sure everything is sealed tightly with
plastic and taped completely shut. Cover and tape all AC intake vents while you are sanding so
that concrete particles are not distributed throughout your home via the ventilation system.
D TIP: Concrete dust will get everywhere (including closed cupboards or drawers)
because the particles are so fine. Be sure to tape up everything tightly!
You can also place a box fan in a window so that the air from inside the home is pulled
outward to help disperse the concrete dust.
Leveling a Wood Subfloor
Before you begin any leveling, you should first walk the floor and screw down any loose or
squeaky places with coarse-headed screws. You may also want to screw down areas that are in
high-traffic areas of the floor to help reinforce the floor and prevent squeaking down the road.
Once everything is screwed down tightly, you’re ready to move onto leveling the subfloor.
Leveling a wood subfloor can prove to be more challenging than concrete, especially if the wood
subfloor is not flat because of high spots over joists (also called crowned joists). If the high spot
over a crowned joist is relatively low, you may be able to sand down the subfloor above the joist
enough to make it flat. If the crowned joist is high and there are exceptionally low areas between
joists, you have a couple options.
Some professionals recommend using roofing shingles to help taper the areas between
crowned joists. Layer shingles on top of each other in the low areas, tapering up to the crowned
joist until the area is level. If you are using a nail down installation, you can choose not to nail
the shingles down as the cleats you use for the flooring should penetrate the flooring as well as
the shingles and subfloor. If you are using a floating installation, you should nail the shingles to
the floor before you begin your installation. Do not use shingles to level a wood subfloor if you
are using the glue down method.
‡
NOTE: Make sure to check with your flooring manufacturer before using this method to
ensure it will not void the floor’s warranty.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Preparing for Installation
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Other professionals recommend using a self-leveling compound to fix uneven wood subfloors.
All the preparation, application and moisture testing steps are the same as for concrete
subfloors.
If your floor has excess sagging, you should also check below the subfloor. You may be able to
correct some sagging by installing wood supports between the joists below the subfloor. You
could then correct any further sagging with either shingles or self-leveling compound.
Undercutting Door Casings
Undercutting door casings is a relatively easy and elegant way to install your flooring around
doors just like the pros do. You should undercut all doorways that will require flooring to be
installed in or around them before you begin your installation. This ensures you do not have
excess wood chips or saw dust in your installation area.
To undercut door casings, you’ll need a scrap piece of flooring, a pencil and your saw (a
handsaw or special saw for cutting door jambs). Always use the finest blade possible when
undercutting door casings so that the saw does not split or mar the wood. NEVER use a sawsall or skill saw as these saws may be difficult to control for these types of cuts.
1. Use the scrap piece of flooring to bring your saw up to the right height of the door
casing. Make sure to account for your underlayment in the total height. Use a pencil to
mark or draw a line at the top of the plank/underlayment. This is how much you’ll be
cutting off the bottom of the door casing so that the flooring will fit underneath it.
2. Use the saw to cut the door casing along the line you drew. Keep your scrap piece of
wood in place to help ensure you make a straight cut.
Now when you reach a door casing, you can cut and place a plank to fit under the casing and
flush with the wall.
D TIP: Be sure to leave some expansion/contraction room between the cut plank and the
wall under the door casing. And always take your underlayment into consideration
before making your cut.
Removing Molding and Doors
Remove all molding and baseboards in your installation area. If you plan on reusing the molding
and baseboards, take care during removal. Small nicks can be filled, sanded and painted over;
however, pieces that are broken or have major damage may need to be replaced. Remove all
doors and set aside.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 28
UNDERSTANDING THE INSTALLATION BASICS
Flooring is one of the most used and viewed surfaces in your home. Especially if this is your first
bamboo flooring installation, you should understand some of the fundamentals about installing
and enjoying your new bamboo floor:
•
Allow for Expansion and Contraction
•
Always Use an Underlayment
•
The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor
•
Stagger Joints for a Natural Look
•
Inspect All Planks Before Installation
•
More Tips for a Successful Installation
Allow for Expansion and Contraction
All bamboo floors experience some contraction and expansion because of the moisture content
of the bamboo, environmental relative humidity and seasonal temperature and moisture
fluctuations. These changes will happen even if you maintain consistent temperature levels with
heating and air conditioning.
Example: One 3 inch wide flooring board may expand or contract 1/16” depending on the
relative humidity fluctuations in the installation area. In extreme conditions, a floor
installed over a ten foot wide or greater area may expand or contract up to 2½ inches.
The protective coatings on both engineered and solid bamboo floors do help slow this process
somewhat, but they cannot eliminate it altogether. Engineered bamboo floors are almost always
less susceptible to expansion and contraction compared to solid bamboo flooring. If this is a
concern in your environment, you may want to consider installing an engineered bamboo
flooring product. When installing bamboo floors, you must take this expansion and contraction
into account and leave ample room around the perimeter of your floor. Don’t worry; you will not
see this expansion/contraction perimeter as is covered by moldings such as baseboards, baseshoe or quarter-round.
Most homeowners can leave a standard ½ inch around the perimeter of the room to allow for
expansion and contraction. If you are flooring a large room, you may want to take the time to
calculate the expansion rate more precisely. Talk to a flooring professional for more information
on how you can specifically calculate your floor’s expansion rate for your area and climate.
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If you do not leave an expansion perimeter, your floor will still go through the natural process of
expanding and contracting. Instead of expanding into the perimeter, the floor may begin to
buckle or cup causing damage to the boards and creating an uneven flooring surface.
D TIP: Play it safe! Always leave an adequate expansion and contraction perimeter.
Always Use an Underlayment
Underlayments are important for any bamboo floor. Underlayments help to protect the bottom of
the bamboo from moisture as well as provide sound barriers and padding which improves the
durability of the flooring. There are a number of underlayment features and price ranges on the
market today. Always be sure to following your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations when
choosing and installing an underlayment.
‡
NOTE: The “softness” of an underlayment will not be felt the same for bamboo floors
as it is for carpet. In most cases, doubling up foam for extra “softness or cushioning” is
NOT recommended. The extra cushioning can create too much movement between
flooring joints which can cause board separation, floor squeaking or damage to the
flooring.
Cork
Cork is one of the most popular underlayments when it comes to sound control, cushioning and
moisture control. Cork underlayments may be required in some buildings (such as condos) to
help control sound between levels. Other homeowners choose cork because it is an excellent
shock absorber as well as sound barrier. Since cork is a natural material, it controls moisture
well as it is porous and “breathes.” Additionally, many homeowners choose cork because it is an
all-natural, renewable material.
A cork underlayment can be used for both wood and concrete subfloors. Cork can be glued to
the subfloor for glue down or nail/staple installations or not adhered to the floor for floating floor
installations. Most manufacturers recommend that a sealer, plastic sheeting or other moisture
underlayment be used in conjunction with cork for added moisture protection. Always follow your
flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for installation. Cork underlayments come in a variety
of thicknesses with the typical being ¼” and ½”. While cork generally costs more than foam, it is
a good investment and can provide your home with a more solid-bamboo flooring feel.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
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Standard Foam
Standard foam underlayments provide a minimal sound barrier and shock absorption layer
between the subfloor and your bamboo floor. Standard foam does not provide a moisture barrier
unless it has plastic adhered to one side of it. Most flooring professionals consider foam to be an
entry-level underlayment. Because foam is considerably cheaper than cork, it is the choice for
many homeowners.
Foam underlayments can be used over both wood and concrete subfloors (although, concrete
subfloors require an additional moisture barrier). Foam can be taped (using double-sided tape)
for glue or nail/staple installation or not adhered to the floor for floating floor installations. Many
manufacturers and professional installers do NOT recommend using foam for glue down
installations. If using the glue down method, consider cork or an underlayment made specifically
for glue down installations.
Foam underlayments also come in a variety of types and densities. Many manufacturers have
their own names for their foam underlayments; however, most provide the same basic benefits.
Always check with your flooring manufacturer before purchasing your underlayment. Some
manufacturers require that certain brands of underlayment be used in order to keep their
warranty valid. Some professionals also use foam without a moisture barrier as an anti-slip
underlayment which makes the flooring easier to install.
Combination Foam/Film
Combination foam/film has all the same characteristics of standard foam with the added benefit
of having a built in moisture barrier. Combination foam/film can be used in the same applications
as standard foam without the need to lay an additional moisture barrier (such as for concrete
subfloors).
Upgraded Foam Underlayments
Upgraded foam underlayments are a good compromise between cork and standard foam or
combination foam/film. Upgraded foam is made from high-density foam so it is thicker and
provides a better sound barrier than standard foam, yet it is still not as good as cork.
Upgraded foam can be used in the same applications as standard foam and combination foam.
Some upgraded foam products come with a moisture barrier while others do not, so be sure to
check before you purchase a product.
Newer foam underlayments have the unique ability to close small holes that are made into the
product. For example, during a nail/staple down installation, a cleat may perforate the
underlayment. In most cases, this creates an area for moisture to seep into your bamboo floor.
New foam products actually seal around the cleat to protect your bamboo flooring from any
future moisture.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 31
Asphalt-Saturated and Asphalt-Laminated Felt Paper
Asphalt-Saturated and Asphalt-Laminated felt paper are used to help control moisture between
the subfloor and your bamboo floor. These types of asphalt papers are cleaner and easier to
work with than traditional asphalt roofing felt since the asphalt does not rub off. Traditional
asphalt paper (roofing felt) or red rosin should NOT be used according to the National Wood
Flooring Association (NWFA) as these types of papers do not provide adequate moisture
barriers.
You should only choose asphalt paper that meets NWFA’s criteria:
•
Asphalt-Laminated Paper: UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type 1, Style 1a
•
Asphalt-Saturated Paper: #15 or #30 asphalt-saturated paper that meets ASTM Standard
D-4869 or II0B-790, Grade D
Also remember that these types of underlayments are not acceptable for all climate conditions,
bamboo flooring or installation methods. If using the glue down method, the asphalt may be
incompatible with certain brands of adhesives. You should always check with your flooring
manufacturer to ensure these types of underlayments can be used under your flooring for your
climate area.
‡
NOTE: Asphalt-Saturated and Asphalt-Laminated felt papers do not provide any
padding or sound barrier.
Plastic Underlayment
Plastic underlayments are generally considered to be 6mm polyethylene/plastic sheeting. Many
homeowners lay plastic between their subfloor and their underlayment (such as cork or foam) as
an additional moisture barrier.
Plastic can be used for wood or concrete subfloors that will use a staple/nail down installation or
for floating floors.
‡
NOTE: Plastic does not provide any padding or sound barrier.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 32
Kraft Paper or Roofing Felt
Most often used for roofing on houses, Kraft paper, or roofing felt, is a used to help prevent
moisture from seeping up from the subfloor. However, Kraft paper should NEVER be used as
the only moisture barrier. Most of the time installers use this type of underlayment as anti-slip
paper for an easier installation
Kraft paper can be used for wood subfloors that will use a glue or staple/nail down installation or
for floating floors.
‡
NOTE: Roofing felt does not provide any padding or sound barrier.
The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor
Before you lay your first bamboo plank, take the time to think about the first and last row of
flooring. The first row is important because it provides the foundation for the floor. If there are
problems with the starter row (such as it not being straight or not having the proper spacing from
the wall) the rest of the floor will have the same problems.
The starter row should be parallel to the longest side of the room and should align with the
incoming light from windows or doors. Many installers work from the left side of a room to the
right, but do what’s most comfortable for you. When complete, your bamboo floor should be
square with the room. This is important not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for the stability of
the floor.
The last row is important because it completes the floor and holds everything against the starter
row. Additionally, the plank for the last row must often be cut widthwise to fit in the remaining
space. Depending on the layout of the floor, a skinny plank on one side of the room may look
odd if the rest of the room has standard size planks.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 33
In order to avoid this issue, calculate the number of planks you’ll need to complete the whole
floor.
1. Measure the room width.
2. Subtract the spacing width for expansion/contraction.
-
3. Divide the width of the room by the width of the bamboo plank.
÷
Total Planks =
If your Total Planks is a whole number, you will not have to split any bamboo planks for your first
and last row. If your Total Planks is not a whole number, divide the remainder by 2 to determine
the width for your first and last rows.
Example:
Total room width
Minus expansion width
Divided by plank width
132” (11’)
- 1” (1/2” on either side of the room)
÷ 3”
Total planks needed
= 43.66
You need 43 full bamboo planks and one bamboo plank that is 2” wide. Since you have
two rows that should be equal length, your first and last row planks would each be 1”
wide. Thus you end up needing 43 full width planks and two 1” wide planks.
Remember, this is NOT the total amount of flooring you need. This is just the number of
boards you’ll need for that section of your room. Always purchase 10-15% more flooring
than you need to account for waste, mistakes and damaged boards.
D TIP: Having the first and last row the exact same width is a personal preference. Most
professionals agree that this only needs to be done if these two rows will be VERY
different, such as the first row being 3” wide while the last row is 1” or less.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 34
First and Last Row Exceptions
Rooms come in many different sizes, shapes and degrees of straightness. If you find yourself
working against a wall that is not perfectly square, it may be necessary to cut that side of the
bamboo plank to match the wall (also called scribe fitting). You can also use this method to
work in odd shaped areas of the room. Just remember that the goal is to lay a straight, square
floor even if the walls of the room are not straight and square.
D TIP: Inner walls tend to be straighter than outside walls.
The first and last row can also be tricky if your type of flooring has a minimum width for
installation. Some flooring cannot be cut to small widths to accommodate equal first and last
rows. In these cases, use your best judgment for installation. Or talk to a flooring professional.
They may have simple, yet elegant solutions for your specific situation.
Stagger Joints for a Natural Look
Staggering joints provides a more natural, stable and professional looking bamboo floor. Try to
stagger end-joints in adjacent rows to be at least three times the width of the plank. Avoid Hjoints unless absolutely necessary.
When laying out your bamboo flooring, you should
make sure that the length of each flooring plank is
no shorter than 2 to 3 times the width of the plank.
Using this width/length ratio helps ensure that you
do not end up using very short flooring planks
(which would cause your floor to look brick-like).
Additionally, when you get to the end of a row, use
the remainder of the plank to start the next row if it
meets the manufacturer’s minimum length requirements (usually between 8-10 inches long).
This also helps ensure your joints are staggered from row to row.
D TIP: Some professional’s layout the whole floor before beginning the installation. This
helps them see the floor as it will look before it’s installed so they can make any
adjustments to the joints and layout. If using this method, try not to walk or place tools
on the bamboo to prevent breakage and surface damage.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 35
Inspect All Planks Before Installation
Like in nature, bamboo flooring varies greatly with regard to color and patterns. Each box of
flooring you open may be slightly different than another box. During your installation, it’s
important that you use planks from at least three different boxes at a time. Some installers
recommend opening all packages and mixing the bamboo up before installing so that planks
from each box are used throughout the whole floor.
‡
NOTE: If you use this method, take care not to scratch any boards as you mix them up.
Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for storing your bamboo.
Never store flooring by standing on end or by resting on either side.
Before you install each board, do a thorough visual inspection of the plank. Do not install any
bamboo flooring plank that has an obvious defect. Remove or trim and use for starting rows.
More Tips for a Successful Installation
Keep these tips in mind as you install your new bamboo flooring:
•
Cutting Planks: Always saw planks with the teeth of the saw cutting down into the face
or the top of the plank. Sawing this way helps to protect the surface of the flooring board.
Additionally, use a carbide tipped blade to ensure you make smooth cuts. If you use a
miter saw, make sure the saw is up to speed before cutting your bamboo to ensure clean
cuts.
D TIP: Use blue painters tape to tape the area to be cut. This type of tape allows you
to mark where you need to cut without writing directly on the flooring. Painters
masking tape also helps protect the bamboo’s finish from splintering or fracturing
during the cutting process. Before you begin cutting the actual lengths of flooring,
experiment your cutting technique on pieces of scrap flooring to ensure you are
cutting in a way that does not damage the bamboo.
•
Tapping Planks: Always use a tapping block to move planks into position. Do not hit the
bamboo flooring directly as it may fracture or damage the bamboo. Good tapping blocks
can be a piece of trim or an extra, clean piece of bamboo.
•
Ending Rows: You may have to cut planks to fit at the end of each row. Use the
remainder of that plank to begin the next row as long as the piece of flooring meets the
minimum required length and allows for proper staggering.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Understanding the Installation Basics
Page 36
•
Keeping the Installation Area Clean: Use a vacuum cleaner or broom to keep your
installation area clean. Saw dust and wood chips produced during cutting can damage
your floor’s finish or create an uneven subfloor.
•
Storing Tools during Installation: Do not store your tools directly on your newly
installed floor as they may scratch or damage the surface. Instead, place your tools on a
piece of plywood, cardboard or clean cotton drop cloth. Never slide your tools across
your bare floor.
•
Work from Left to Right: Most installers and manufacturer’s recommend working from
left to right as you install your flooring. Be sure to always work from the subfloor and NOT
your newly installed bamboo floor during your installation.
•
Use Waste Planks: You can use discolored or slightly damaged planks in areas such as
closets or pantries where the color variations might not be noticed as much.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 37
GLUE DOWN INSTALLATION
The glue down method is the simplest, yet messiest, way for a novice to install solid tongue and
groove bamboo flooring over a concrete or wood subfloor. This method is used most often for
solid bamboo floors as opposed to engineered bamboo floors. Engineered floors can be glued
down if you prefer that method over a floating floor. However, you should always check with
your flooring manufacturer to ensure using the glue down method does not void your warranty.
Tools and Materials
While specialized tools (such as nail guns or staplers) are not needed, you will need the
following:
‰ 4’ or 6’ level
‰ Adhesive remover (as recommended by your flooring manufacturer or a flooring
professional)
D TIP: If your adhesive manufacturer does not have any adhesive remover
recommendations, you can use a clean rag with small amounts of mineral spirits. Use
sparingly as too much mineral spirits can damage the bamboo’s finish. Always
ensure you have proper ventilation when working with mineral spirits.
‰ Blue painters tape (to hold planks together without marring the finish)
D TIP: Always test the tape on a piece of scrap flooring before using during your
installation to ensure it does not damage the surface of your bamboo.
‰ Broom
‰ Carpenter’s square
‰ Chalk line
‰ Crow, pull bar and/or power bar
‰ Electric and/or hand saw and jig saw with a carbide tipped blade
‰ Flooring adhesive (as recommended by your flooring manufacturer or a flooring
professional)
‰ Hammer
‰ Heavy items such as stacks of books, extra buckets of glue, etc (used to weigh down
areas of the floor that do not sit level with the rest of the floor)
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 38
‰ Notch Trowel: 3/16” square notch for planks less than 5”
1/4” square notch for 5” planks or wider
‡
NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific adhesive you
chose to ensure you use the proper trowel for that product.
‰ Ratchet straps to hold flooring together while the adhesive dries (instead of painters tape;
although painters tape is recommended for non-professional installers)
‰ Safety goggles and mask
‰ Soft rubber mallet and/or white tipped mallet
‰ Spacers for the expansion gaps around the perimeter of your floor (refer to your
manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper width for your flooring)
‰ Tape measure
‰ Tapping block or clean piece of scrap wood
‰ Utility knife
‰ Utility towels (damp and dry)
‰ Any other tools recommended by the flooring manufacturer
Types of Adhesives
There are a number of quality adhesives on the market. When purchasing an adhesive, be sure
to consider your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations. Always make sure the adhesive you
choose is specifically designed for glued down bamboo flooring. In most cases, the adhesive will
be a urethane-based product. DO NOT use an adhesive that has water as an ingredient.
Some adhesives are designed to be applied to the tongue and groove while others are toweled
on the subfloor. Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s instructions when choosing and
applying an adhesive.
D TIP: If you are NOT gluing the bamboo flooring to the subfloor, you are installing a
floating floor.
Currently, a couple good choices on the market are:
•
Franklin 811 Plus
•
Bostik’s Best or BST
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 39
When working with a floor adhesive, follow the flooring and adhesive manufacturer’s guidelines.
Some flooring can be set into wet glue (wet set), which allows you to spread the glue in sections
then lay down the flooring. Other adhesives have quicker drying times, so you must spread as
you go. Additional recommendations may include things such as subfloor moisture rates, spread
rates, trowel sizes, and flash times.
Installing the Underlayment
Installing the underlayment is the first step in your flooring process. Acceptable underlayments
for glue down installations include:
•
Cork
•
Underlayments made specifically for glue down installations
•
Sealers
1. Lay out the underlayment above the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
attaching the underlayment to the subfloor. If the underlayment is not secured to your
subfloor, ensure you are using the correct underlayment for the glue down installation
method.
2. Trim all edges at the wall level using a utility knife.
Installing the First Row
Now that you’ve got your underlayment in place, you can begin installing your first row of
bamboo flooring.
1. Starting on the longest wall, measure out from the wall in at least two places to allow for
your expansion/contraction space. Mark each spot. Snap a chalk line across the marks
to form a straight line.
‡
NOTE: Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for the
expansion/contraction spacing.
d
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 40
2. Lay out the first row of bamboo flooring end to end with the groove toward the wall but
DO NOT glue yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Use a chalk
line, level and blocks or wedges to help you get this first row completely straight. Cut
planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are not.
If your first and last row of bamboo planks are less than a full plank width, cut all your
first row planks to the correct width before laying out to evaluate the fit. (For more
information, see The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor on
page 32.)
3. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the first row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
4. Re-install the first row, applying the adhesive to the floor using a trowel. Squeeze the
T&G together so they fit tightly. Immediately wipe away any adhesive that seeps up
from the joint.
Ì CAUTION: Too much adhesive will interfere with the way the boards are
manufactured, keeping them from fitting tightly together.
If your subfloor is wood, you can use small finishing nails to hold the first row in place, if
necessary.
D TIP: Once installation is complete, you can fill the nail holes with wood filler that
matches the color/blend of your new floor.
*
5. Continue working your way across the floor installing the first row and placing spacers
between the wall and the floor. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or level
every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and equal
throughout the whole length of the first row.
Remember: Take more time with this first row as it is the foundation for the rest of the
floor. Don’t forget to randomize bamboo planks across this first row to vary color
differences.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 41
6. When you get to the last bamboo plank in the first row, measure the size plank you
need, factoring in adequate expansion/contraction space.
Glue down the last piece in starter row. If necessary, use
a pinch bar to help you maneuver the last plank of the
first row into place between the wall. Place a spacer
between the wall and the last plank that was installed.
If the remainder of the bamboo plank you cut is 8” or longer, use it to start the next row.
D TIP: Professionals recommend that any cut plank you use be 2 to 3 times the width
of the flooring.
*
7. Use a tape measure and level to re-measure your starter row and expansion spacing. If
you’re satisfied with the fit, you’re ready to continue installing your floor.
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
8. Wait 2-4 hours to let the first row set completely.
D TIP: Even if you use finishing nails to help secure the first row, it is a good idea to let
the first row set completely before installing the rest of the floor. If the first row is
not set and stable, the pressure the rest of the floor puts on the first row could
slowly push it out of alignment. If the first row becomes crooked, the rest of the floor
will also be crooked.
*
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 42
Installing the Rest of the Floor
Once your starter row is done, the rest of your bamboo floor will begin taking shape.
1. Use a short or partial plank to begin your second row. This ensures the plank joints are
staggered. (Always stagger joints 6” or more for maximum stability and a more
professional look.)
Trowel a layer of adhesive. Lay the new bamboo plank on the floor and fit the long T&G
edge and the short (end joint) T&G edge together. Gently tap the boards together using
a tapping block to ensure a tight fit. Tape with blue painters tape or strap together, if
necessary.
D TIP: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for troweling out adhesive. If you
spread out too much glue, it could dry before you get to install that part of the
floor. This will waste adhesive and could cause your subfloor to become uneven.
*
2. Continue working across the floor from left to right, spreading adhesive and fitting the
bamboo together along each row.
Remember to:
o Use bamboo from multiple packages to vary colors throughout your floor.
o Install spacers along all walls at the recommended intervals.
o Stagger joints so the floor has a random pattern.
o Stop to measure to ensure the floor is going down straight and level.
o Gently tap boards together using a tapping block. Do not hammer the planks
directly. Always tap the tongue and not the groove. Do not hammer the face of a
plank (even with a rubber mallet) as it may damage the finish.
o Do not trowel more adhesive than you need.
o Immediately wipe away any excessive adhesive.
o If the adhesive dries on the floor before you install the bamboo flooring, scrape up
then reapply to ensure the subfloor stays level.
o Weight down areas of concern as you move across the floor (such as areas
where the flooring is not firmly in contact with the subfloor).
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 43
Installing the Last Row
Your floor is almost complete and ready for the last row.
1. Measure in at least two places the space you have left between the wall and the edge
of the new floor. Mark each spot. Subtract your expansion/contraction space. This
measurement should be close to the width of your first row (if you cut the first row to be
approximately the same width as your last row).
Snap a chalk line across the marks to form a straight line.
2. Roughly layout the bamboo to identify how many you will need to complete the last row.
Cut all boards to the correct width.
3. Lay out the last row of bamboo flooring end to end with the tongue toward the wall but
DO NOT glue yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Like with your
first row, cut planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are
not.
4. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the last row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
5. Re-install the last row, applying adhesive where necessary. Use a pull bar to squeeze
planks together so they fit tightly. Immediately wipe away any adhesive that seeps from
the joint. Place spacers between the wall and the last row of flooring.
If your subfloor is wood, you can use small finishing nails to hold the last row in place, if
necessary. You may be able to use blue painters tape as an alternative to nailing;
however, painters tape may not work in all situations.
6. Continue working your way across the floor installing the last row and placing spacers
between the wall and the flooring. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or
level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and
equal throughout the whole length of the last row.
Like with the first row, take more time with the last row as it is holds the rest of the floor
against the first row. Don’t forget to randomize boards across the last row to provide a
natural looking floor.
7. Once all planks are installed, use a tape measure and level to re-measure your last row
and expansion spacing. If you’re satisfied with the fit, your floor is almost complete!
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Glue Down Installation
Page 44
Rolling the Floor
Some adhesive manufacturers recommend rolling the newly installed bamboo floor with a 100 lb
to 150 lb roller. Rolling the floor while it is still tacky helps to ensure there is full contact between
the new floor and the adhesive as well as levels any adhesive pockets under the bamboo.
Follow the adhesive and flooring manufacturer’s guidelines for rolling floors. Some
manufacturer’s recommend rolling at set intervals during the installation while others may leave
rolling for the end.
For many non-professional installers, rolling the floor is not practical. Instead, some professional
installers place weights on the newly installed bamboo floor as they are working their way
across the room. Weighting the floor, like rolling, helps the adhesive form a bond with the
flooring and the subfloor. Weights can be buckets of glue, bags of sand or unused boxes of
flooring. ALWAYS place these items on cardboard or plastic to protect your new bamboo floor
from denting and scratching.
Letting the Floor Set
Most adhesives take between 8 and 24 hours to fully set. During this setting time, no one should
walk, move or place anything upon the newly installed bamboo floor. All spacers must be left in
place during the setting time. Removing spacers could cause the floor to expand and set
improperly.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 45
NAIL/STAPLE DOWN INSTALLATION
The nail or staple down method is the installation method most professionals use to install solid
tongue and groove bamboo flooring over a wood subfloor. The nail/staple down method can
also be used above a sleeper system for radiant heating.
The nail/staple down installation method is used most often for solid bamboo floors as opposed
to engineered bamboo floors; however, this method can be used for engineered non-click lock
bamboo flooring systems if approved or recommended by the flooring manufacturer. If using the
nail/staple method above a radiant heating system, make sure your fasteners will not puncture
the heating elements under the subfloor.
Tools and Materials
You will need the following tools and materials:
‰ 4’ or 6’ level
‰ Broom
‰ Carpenter’s square
‰ Chalk line
‰ Crow bar, pull bar and/or power bar
‰ Electric and/or hand saw and jig saw with a carbide tipped blade
‰ Electric drill (for pre-drilling holes)
‰ Hammer
‰ Nail or staple gun
‰ Nail punch to drive a nail/staple in completely
‰ Nails/cleats or staples
‰ Pliers (such as needle-nose) to remove a nail/staple that did not go in completely
‰ Safety goggles and mask
‰ Soft rubber mallet and/or white tipped mallet
‰ Spacers (refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper width for your flooring)
‰ Tape measure
‰ Tapping block or clean piece of scrap wood
‰ Utility knife
‰ Utility towels
‰ Wire cutters to cut the head of a nail/staple that is partially exposed
‰ Any other tools recommended by the flooring manufacturer
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 46
Fasteners Types and Fastening Machines
There are a variety of nail guns, staple guns and supplies on the market for installing bamboo
floors. The following are a few options to consider.
‡
NOTE: Be sure to follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations when choosing
a nail or staple as different floors and planks widths require different supplies.
Fastener Types
There are two types of fasteners recommended for nail/staple down installations: cleats (a
specific type of flooring nail) and staples. Always follow the flooring and fastening device
manufacturer’s recommendations when choosing a type of fastener for your floor as cleat/staple
length varies. Most manufacturers recommend using cleats over staples when using the
nail/staple down method for bamboo flooring.
Types of Fastening Devices
There are two types of fastening machines on the market: manual and pneumatic. Manual
fastening devices rely on springs to provide enough force to push the cleat or staple into the
flooring. Pneumatic fasteners use air pressure supplied by an air compressor to set the cleat or
staple into the flooring. Pneumatics’ are much easier to use and recommended for the novice
installer.
When working with manual fastening devices, make sure you’ve selected the proper plate size
for the width and style of the flooring you are installing. Nail plates are designed to position the
cleat at the angle needed to install the bamboo while not touching (and scratching) the flooring.
Plates are usually designed based on the height of the flooring (3/4”, ½”, etc.). Using the wrong
plate size can cause major damage to the bamboo because the cleat will not go in at the correct
angle or the plate will scratch the wear layer during installation.
Both types of devices come as either top nailer or an angled nailer (also called blind nailing).
Top nailers are set flush to the top of a board and push the cleat through the bamboo to the
subfloor. Top nailers are usually only used to secure the first and last row of bamboo since the
cleat hole is visible and must be filled or covered by molding. Top nailing can also be
accomplished with a standard hammer and nails.
Angled nailers have a different type of head that sits flush with the bamboo at an angle. This
allows the cleat to be placed precisely in the tongue of the bamboo flooring. Angle nailers are
used for the rest of the floor because they do not damage the top of the bamboo while securely
fastening it to the subfloor.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 47
When working with pneumatic fastening devices, always choose the correct adapters and
pressure settings (usually between 70-80 PSI). Always test the pressure and cleat type on a
scrap piece of bamboo flooring BEFORE you start your
installation. The proper pressure may vary depending on the
fastener, the nailing device and the brand flooring being
used.
If selected correctly, the device will set the cleat properly in
the nail pocket (the space between the tongue and the main
part of the plank). Too little or too much pressure may
improperly set the cleat in the nail pocket which could cause
too much space between planks.
For both manual and pneumatic fastening devices, always
place the nailer flat against the bamboo to prevent damage.
The device should engage at the top of the plank at the
appropriate angle over the tongue. Additionally, the plate
should be covered with felt or plastic to prevent damage to
your flooring.
D TIP: Following these guidelines can help reduce the likelihood that your finished bamboo
floor will squeak. Squeaking can be caused by improper installation techniques, but is
also a product of changing environmental conditions. Most squeaking is the result of
improperly installed subfloors.
If you need to remove a side nailed cleat from a bamboo plank, pull it out from the tongue at the
front of the board with the pressure from the device directed at the subfloor. Do not pull the cleat
straight up from the tongue or you will damage the surface of your bamboo flooring. In some
instances, you can use a hammer and a punch to knock the cleat though the flooring or push it
out the other way so that it will not affect the fit between the tongue and groove of the next
bamboo flooring board.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 48
Installing the Underlayment
Installing the underlayment is the first step in your flooring process. Acceptable underlayments
for nail/staple down installations include:
•
Cork
•
Standard Foam
•
Combination Foam/Film
•
Upgraded Foam
•
Sealers
1. Lay out the underlayment above the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
attaching the underlayment to the floor.
2. Trim all edges at the wall level using a utility knife.
Installing the First Row
Now that you’ve got your underlayment in place, you can begin installing the first row of bamboo
flooring. If you are installing your flooring on a plywood subfloor over a concrete subfloor, make
sure to choose the proper cleat length. If the cleat is too long, it will penetrate through the
plywood subfloor into the concrete. The cleat will then transfer sound from your bamboo floor
through the subfloor to the concrete.
Fasten along the tongue of each piece of flooring at the appropriate intervals:
ƒ
4-6” for cleats
ƒ
3-4” for staples
ƒ
Within 1-2” of end joints
If you live in an area with high humidity, consider fastening more often than these guidelines.
However, do not fasten too closely together or the tongues and boards may begin to split.
Always make sure the cleats or staples are set properly into the bamboo before beginning any
new rows. This ensures the tongue and grooves fit tightly together and also helps prevent the
bamboo from splitting because of uneven pressure.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 49
1. Starting on the longest wall, measure out from the wall in at least two places to allow for
your expansion/contraction space. Mark each spot. Snap a chalk line across the marks
to form a straight line.
‡
NOTE: Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for
expansion/contraction spacing.
D TIP: The longest wall should be perpendicular to the floor joists for maximum
stability.
*
2. Lay out the first row of flooring end to end with the groove toward the wall but DO NOT
fasten yet. When arranging, make sure the tongue is facing out as you will be fastening
the tongue to the subfloor. NEVER nail or staple through the groove!
Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Use a chalk line, level and blocks
or wedges to help you get this first row completely straight. Cut planks where needed to
ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are not.
If your first and last row of planks are less than a full plank width, cut all your first row
planks to the correct width before laying out to evaluate the fit. (For more information,
see The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor on page 32).
3. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the first row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
4. Re-install the first row, top-nailing to hold the bamboo in place. Once installation is
complete, fill the nail holes with wood filler that matches the color/blend of your new
floor.
D TIP: Top nailing should only be used around the perimeter of a floor. This method
provides a very sturdy frame for the flooring, but mars the top of the plank. Top
nailing only along the perimeter of the floor keeps the aesthetic flaws to a minimum
while not compromising the stability of the new bamboo floor.
*
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 50
5. Continue working your way across the floor installing the first row and placing spacers
at the tops of every couple bamboo boards. Take time to measure with a tape measure
and/or level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate
and equal throughout the whole length of the first row.
Remember: Take more time with this first row as it is the foundation for the rest of the
floor. Don’t forget to randomize boards across this first row for a natural looking
bamboo floor.
6. When you get to the last plank in the first row, measure the size plank you need,
factoring in adequate expansion/contraction space. Top nail the last piece in the starter
row. Place a spacer between the wall and the last plank that was installed.
If the remainder of the bamboo you cut is 8” or longer, use it to start the next row.
D TIP: Professionals recommend that any cut plank you use be 2 to 3 times the width
of the flooring.
*
7. Use a tape measure and level to re-measure your starter row and expansion spacing. If
you’re satisfied with the fit, you’re ready to continue installing your bamboo floor.
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
Installing the Rest of the Floor
Once your starter row is done, the rest of your bamboo floor will begin taking shape.
1. Use a short or partial bamboo plank to begin your second row. (Always stagger joints 6”
or more for maximum stability and a more professional look.)
Gently tap the boards together using a tapping block to ensure a tight fit. Blind nail the
bamboo to the floor with an angled nailer/stapler.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 51
2. Continue working across the floor from left to right, fitting bamboo planks together and
blind nailing along each row.
Remember to:
o Face the tongues out on all rows so that you can easily fasten to the subfloor.
NEVER nail or staple through the groove.
o Fasten appropriately:
ƒ
4-6” for cleats
ƒ
3-4” for staples
ƒ
Within 1-2” of end joints
o Use bamboo from multiple packages to vary colors throughout your floor.
o Install spacers along all walls at the recommended intervals.
o Stagger joints so the floor has a random pattern.
o Stop and measure to ensure the floor is going down straight and level.
o Gently tap boards together using a tapping block. Do not hammer the planks
directly. Always tap the tongue and not the groove. Do not hammer the face of a
plank (even with a rubber mallet) as it may damage the finish.
Installing the Last Few Rows
Your floor is almost complete. You’ll install the last few rows of your bamboo a little differently
since your nailer may not fit between your flooring and the wall.
1. When you get approximately 5 to 6 rows from the wall, begin using a white tipped
mallet (which will not leave a mark on the wall) to move the bamboo into place.
2. When you get approximately 3 rows from the wall, your nailer may not fit between the
wall and the floor. Continue laying your bamboo and use a power bar to wedge each
piece into place. With your white tipped mallet, strike to ensure the wood is flat and the
tongues and grooves are tight. You will not nail these two or three rows together so you
must ensure the flooring is fit tightly together.
3. When you get to the last row, measure in at least two places the space you have left
between the wall and the edge of the new floor. Mark each spot. Subtract your
expansion/contraction space. This measurement should be close to the width of your
first row (if you cut the first row to be approximately the same width as your last row).
Snap a chalk line across the marks to form a straight line.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Nail/Staple Down Installation
Page 52
4. Roughly layout the bamboo to identify how many boards you will need to complete the
last row. Cut all boards to the correct width.
5. Lay out the last row of bamboo flooring end to end with the tongue toward the wall but
DO NOT nail yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Like with your
first row, cut planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are
not.
6. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the last row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
7. Re-install the last row by top nailing (like what you did for the first row). Place a spacer
between the wall and the last row of flooring. Use a power bar and white tipped mallet
to place and fit the flooring tightly together.
‡
NOTE: When you nail the last row, the nails will be holding the last several rows in
place. Be sure all these rows are fit together tightly. Consider adding a few extra
nails on the last row to ensure a tight, long-lasting fit.
*
8. Continue working your way across the floor installing the last row and placing spacers
between the wall and the flooring. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or
level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and
equal throughout the whole length of the last row.
Like with the first row, take more time with the last row as it holds the rest of the floor
against the first row. Don’t forget to randomize bamboo across the last row to vary color
differences throughout the floor.
9. Once all bamboo planks are installed, use a tape measure and level to re-measure your
last row and expansion spacing. If you’re satisfied with the fit, your floor is complete!
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
Letting the Floor Set
Unlike with the glue down method, a nail/staple down installation does not need any time to set.
Once the last row is installed, you can begin using your new bamboo floor.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Click Lock Flooring
Page 53
FLOATING INSTALLATION FOR CLICK LOCK FLOORING
Click lock engineered bamboo flooring is installed using a floating floor installation method
above a wood or concrete subfloor.
Tools and Materials
You will need the following tools and materials:
‰ 4’ or 6’ level
‰ Broom
‰ Carpenter’s square
‰ Chalk line
‰ Crow, pull and/or power bar
‰ Electric and/or hand saw and jig saw with a carbide tipped blade
‰ Hammer
‰ Safety goggles and mask
‰ Soft rubber mallet and/or white tipped mallet
‰ Spacers (refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper width for your flooring)
‰ Tape measure
‰ Tapping block or clean piece of scrap wood
‰ Utility knife
‰ Any other tools recommended by the flooring manufacturer
Installing the Underlayment
Installing the underlayment is the first step in your flooring process. Acceptable underlayments
for floating click lock installations include:
•
Cork
•
Standard Foam
•
Combination Foam/Film
•
Upgraded Foam
•
Plastic Sheeting
1. Lay out the underlayment above the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
attaching the underlayment to the floor.
2. Trim all edges of at the wall level using a utility knife.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Click Lock Flooring
Page 54
Installing the First Row
Now that you’ve got your underlayment in place, you can begin installing your first row of
bamboo flooring.
Ì IMPORTANT: There are a variety of click lock flooring styles that vary by
manufacturer. ALWAYS follow the instructions provided by your flooring manufacturer
when installing a click lock floor. Only use these instructions as a reference if your
manufacturer did not provide their own installation instructions or if your manufacturer’s
instructions are vague.
1. Starting on the longest wall, measure out from the wall in at least two places to allow for
your expansion/contraction space. Mark each spot. Snap a chalk line across the marks
to form a straight line.
‡
NOTE: Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for the
expansion/contraction spacing.
*
2. Lay out the first row of flooring end to end with the groove toward the wall but DO NOT
click together yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Use the chalk
line, a level and blocks or wedges to help you get this first row completely straight. Cut
bamboo planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are not.
If your first and last row of planks are less than a full plank width, cut all your first row
planks to the correct width before laying out to evaluate the fit. (For more information,
see The First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor on page 32).
3. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the first row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
4. Re-install the first row, clicking and locking the bamboo into place.
5. Continue working your way across the floor installing the first row and placing spacers
along the walls. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or level every foot or so
to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and equal throughout the
whole length of the first row.
Remember: Take more time with this first row as it is the foundation for the rest of the
floor. Don’t forget to randomize bamboo across this first row to provide a natural looking
floor.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Click Lock Flooring
Page 55
6. When you get to the last plank in the first row, measure the size plank you need,
factoring in adequate expansion/contraction space. Click and lock the last piece in
starter row. Place a spacer between the wall and the last plank that was installed.
If the remainder of the plank you cut is 8” or longer, use it to start the next row.
D TIP: Professionals recommend that any cut plank you use be 2 to 3 times the width
of the flooring.
*
7. Use a tape measure and level to re-measure your starter row and expansion spacing. If
you’re satisfied with the fit, you’re ready to continue installing your floor.
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
Installing the Rest of the Floor
Once your starter row is done, the rest of your bamboo floor will begin taking shape.
1. Use a short or partial bamboo plank to begin your second row. (Always stagger joints 6”
or more for maximum stability and a more professional look.)
Gently tap the boards together using a tapping block to ensure a tight fit. Click and lock
the plank to the first row.
2. Continue working across the floor from left to right, fitting and locking the bamboo
together along each row.
Remember to:
o Use bamboo from multiple packages to vary colors throughout your floor.
o Install spacers along all walls at the recommended intervals.
o Stagger joints so the floor has a random pattern.
o Stop and measure to ensure the floor is going down straight and level.
o Gently tap boards together using a tapping block. Do not hammer the planks
directly. Always tap the tongue and not the groove. Do not hammer the face of a
plank (even with a rubber mallet) as it may damage the finish.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Click Lock Flooring
Page 56
Installing the Last Row
Your bamboo floor is almost complete and ready for the last row.
1. Measure in at least two places the space you have left between the wall and the edge
of the new floor. Mark each spot. Subtract your expansion/contraction space. This
measurement should be close to the width of your first row (if you cut the first row to be
approximately the same width as your last row).
Snap a chalk line across the marks to form a straight line.
2. Roughly layout the bamboo to identify how many you will need to complete the last row.
Cut all boards to the correct width.
3. Lay out the last row of flooring end to end with the tongue toward the wall but DO NOT
lock together yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Like with your
first row, cut planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are
not.
4. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the last row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
5. Re-install the last row. Place a spacer between the wall and the last row of flooring.
6. Continue working your way across the floor installing the last row and placing spacers
between the wall and the flooring. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or
level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and
equal throughout the whole length of the last row. Like with the first row, take more time
with the last row as it is holds the rest of the floor together.
7. Once all planks are installed, use a tape measure and level to re-measure your last row
and expansion spacing. If you’re satisfied with the fit, your floor is complete!
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
Letting the Floor Set
Unlike with the glue down method, a click lock bamboo installation does not need any time to
set. Once the last row is installed, you can begin using your new bamboo floor.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
Page 57
FLOATING INSTALLATION FOR ENGINEERED FLOORING
Engineered tongue and groove bamboo flooring is most often installed as a floating floor above
a concrete or wood subfloor or above radiant heating systems (if approved by the flooring
manufacturer). Floating installations are not recommended if using 3/8” engineered bamboo
flooring. While some manufacturers allow this type of installation, be sure to verify that a floating
installation will not void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Ì IMPORTANT: Do not install solid bamboo flooring using the floating floor method unless
specifically approved by your flooring manufacturer.
Tools and Materials
While specialized tools (such as nail guns or staplers) are not needed, you will need the
following:
‰ 4’ or 6’ level
‰ Adhesive remover (as recommended by your flooring manufacturer or a flooring
professional)
‰ Broom
‰ Carpenter’s square
‰ Chalk line
‰ Crow, pull and/or power bar
‰ Electric and/or hand saw and jig saw with a carbide tipped blade
‰ Hammer
‰ Safety goggles and mask
‰ Soft rubber mallet and/or white tipped mallet
‰ Spacers (refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper width for your flooring)
‰ Tape measure
‰ Tapping block or clean piece of scrap wood
‰ Tongue and groove flooring adhesive (as recommended by your flooring manufacturer or
a flooring professional)
‰ Utility knife
‰ Utility towels (damp and dry)
‰ Any other tools recommended by the flooring manufacturer
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
Page 58
Types of Adhesives
There are a number of quality adhesives on the market. When purchasing an adhesive, be sure
to consider your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations. Always make sure the adhesive you
choose is specifically designed for installing a floating bamboo floor. In most cases, the
adhesive will be a urethane-based product. DO NOT use an adhesive that has water as an
ingredient.
For floating bamboo floors, you should choose an adhesive that is designed to be applied to the
tongue and groove NOT one that needs to be toweled on the subfloor. Always follow your
flooring manufacturer’s instructions for choosing and applying an adhesive.
D TIP: If you are gluing the flooring to the subfloor, you are NOT installing a floating
floor.
Installing the Underlayment
Installing the underlayment is the first step in your flooring process. Acceptable underlayments
for floating installations include:
•
Cork
•
Standard Foam
•
Combination Foam/Film
•
Upgraded Foam
•
Plastic Sheeting
1. Lay out the underlayment above the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
attaching the underlayment to the floor, if necessary.
2. Trim all edges at the wall using a utility knife.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
Page 59
Installing the First Row
Now that you’ve got your underlayment in place, you can begin installing your first row of
bamboo flooring.
1. Starting on the longest wall, measure out from the wall in at least two places to allow for
your expansion/contraction space. Mark each spot. Snap a chalk line across the marks
to form a straight line.
‡
NOTE: Always follow your flooring manufacturer’s recommendations for
expansion/contraction spacing.
*
2. Lay out the first row of flooring end to end with the groove toward the wall but DO NOT
glue yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Use a chalk line, level
and blocks or wedges to help you get this first row completely straight. Cut planks
where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are not.
If your first and last rows are less than a full plank width, cut all your first row planks to
the correct width before laying out to evaluate the fit. (For more information, see The
First and Last Rows are the Foundation of a Great Floor on page 32).
3. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the first row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
4. Re-install the first row, applying adhesive along the entire top of the tongue of the
installed plank and on the bottom of the groove of the plank to be installed. Squeeze
bamboo boards together so they fit tightly. Immediately wipe away any adhesive that
seeps from the joint.
Ì CAUTION: Too much adhesive will interfere with the way the boards are
manufactured, keeping them from fitting tightly together.
/
5. Continue working your way across the floor installing the first row and placing spacers
at the tops of every couple boards along the wall. Take time to measure with a tape
measure and/or level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is
adequate and equal throughout the whole length of the first row.
Remember: Take more time with this first row as it is the foundation for the rest of the
floor. Don’t forget to randomize bamboo across this first row to provide a natural looking
floor.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
Page 60
6. When you get to the last plank in the first row, measure the size plank you need,
factoring in adequate expansion/contraction space. Glue down the last piece in starter
row. If necessary, use a pinch bar to install the last plank in the first row. Place a spacer
between the wall and the last plank that was installed.
If the remainder of the bamboo you cut is 8” or longer, use it to start the next row.
D TIP: Professionals recommend that any cut plank you use be 2 to 3 times the width
of the flooring.
*
7. Use a tape measure and level to re-measure your starter row and expansion spacing. If
you’re satisfied with the fit, you’re ready to continue installing your floor.
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
Installing the Rest of the Floor
Once your starter row is done, the rest of your bamboo floor will begin taking shape.
1. Use a short or partial bamboo plank to begin your second row. (Always stagger joints 6”
or more for maximum stability and a more professional look.)
Adhere the long and short edges of the planks together with the adhesive. Gently tap
the boards together using a tapping block to ensure a tight fit.
2. Continue working across the floor from left to right, securing the bamboo together with
the adhesive along each row.
Remember to:
o Use bamboo from multiple packages to vary colors throughout your floor.
o Install spacers along all walls at the recommended intervals.
o Stagger joints so the floor has a random pattern.
o Stop and measure to ensure the floor is going down straight and level.
o Gently tap boards together using a tapping block. Do not hammer the planks
directly. Always tap the tongue and not the groove. Do not hammer the face of a
plank (even with a rubber mallet) as it may damage the finish.
o Immediately wipe away any excessive adhesive.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
Page 61
Installing the Last Row
Your bamboo floor is almost complete and ready for the last row.
1. Measure in at least two places the space you have left between the wall and the edge
of the new floor. Mark each spot. Subtract your expansion/contraction space. This
measurement should be close to the width of your first row (if you cut the first row to be
approximately the same width as your last row).
Snap a chalk line across the marks to form a straight line.
2. Roughly layout the bamboo to identify how many you will need to complete the last row.
Cut all boards to the correct width.
3. Lay out the last row of flooring end to end with the tongue toward the wall but DO NOT
glue yet. Remember that not all walls are straight and square. Like with your first row,
cut planks where needed to ensure the floor is straight even if the walls are not.
4. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the last row, take apart and stack in the order they
will be re-installed (the last board to be installed should be on the bottom of the stack).
5. Re-install the last row, applying adhesive where necessary. Use a pull bar to squeeze
planks together so they fit tightly. Immediately wipe away any adhesive that seeps from
the joint. Place spacers between the wall and the last row of bamboo flooring.
If your subfloor is wood, you can use small finishing nails to hold the last row in place, if
necessary.
6. Continue working your way across the floor installing the last row and placing spacers
between the wall and the flooring. Take time to measure with a tape measure and/or
level every foot or so to ensure your expansion/contraction spacing is adequate and
equal throughout the whole last row.
Like with the first row, take more time with the last row as it is holds the rest of the floor
against the first row. Don’t forget to randomize boards across the last row.
7. Once all bamboo planks are installed, use a tape measure and level to re-measure your
last row and expansion spacing. If you’re satisfied with the fit, your floor is almost
complete!
If you’re not satisfied with the fit, remove and re-install the planks where necessary.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Floating Installation for Engineered Flooring
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Letting the Floor Set
Most adhesives take between 8 and 24 hours to fully set. During this setting time, no one should
walk, move or place anything upon the newly installed bamboo floor. All spacers must be left in
place during the setting time. Removing spacers could cause the floor to expand and set
improperly.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Special Circumstance Installation
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE INSTALLATION
In almost every flooring installation, you are going to run into areas that require special attention.
In this section, we’ll discuss:
•
Types of Trim, Molding and Transition Pieces
•
Molding Installation Methods
•
Using T-Molding for Interior Doorways
•
Using End Molding for Exterior Doorways
•
Working around Vents
•
Installing Bamboo Flooring on Stairs
•
Working around Fireplaces and Brickwork
•
Using End Molding for Carpet Transitions
•
Using Flush Reducer for Vinyl Transitions
•
Using Overlap Reducer for Vinyl Transitions
Types of Trim, Molding and Transition Pieces
There are a variety of trim, molding and transition pieces to help you when working around
doorways, stairs or between different types of
flooring.
•
T-Molding: This molding is used between
bamboo floors and exterior doorway
thresholds.
•
Overlap Reducer: This transition piece is
used to join floating bamboo floors to
flooring that is a different height such as
vinyl, tile or carpeting.
•
Overlap Stair Nose: This transition piece is used in on steps to provide the proper
overhang from a floating bamboo floor to flooring surface on a lower level.
•
Flush Reducer: This transition piece is used to join glue or nail/staple down bamboo
floors to flooring that is a different height such as vinyl, tile or carpeting.
•
Flush Stair Nose: This transition piece is used on stairways or steps to provide the
proper overhang from one level to the next.
•
End (or Threshold) Molding: A type of floor trim used to separate and transition
between carpet, fireplaces, sliding doors, or any other outside door jamb. End molding is
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also used around brickwork. (Also called, medium threshold or baby threshold depending
on the profile height.)
•
Wall Base: This molding is placed along the bottom of the wall above the flooring to hide
the expansion/contraction space as well as to give the room a finished look. Wall base
can also be used under cabinets.
•
Quarter Round: This molding is placed along wall base above the flooring to help hide
the expansion/contraction space as well as to give the room a finished look. It can also
be used under cabinets if wall base is too large or at the bottom of stairs for aesthetics.
Like with your flooring, molding comes in a variety of natural color variations. When choosing
your molding, be sure to match the color and grain to your bamboo floor. Prior to installation,
choose the pieces of molding you want to install and compare them to the coloring in the floor.
Install moldings that are complimentary to the flooring color variations in each installation area.
Molding Installation Methods
Moldings and trim can be installed two different ways:
•
Using adhesive. With this method, you glue the molding to the subfloor (or in some
cases to the flooring) using a non-water based adhesive. This is the easiest and most
common way most molding and trim is installed.
‡
•
NOTE: This manual provides instructions for installing molding and trim with
adhesive.
Using trim tracks. With this method you nail or screw a track to the subfloor then slide
and lock the molding into place over the track. The following steps provide a basic
overview of how to install molding using trim tracks.
1. Measure your molding.
2. Position the end molding approximately where you
want to install it.
Lift the molding straight up and use a pencil to mark
the subfloor where the track should be placed. The
grooves on the back of the molding indicate where
the track will be inserted into the channel.
3. For wood subfloors, screw the track to the floor using a 4 x ½” screws.
For concrete subfloors, attach the track to the floor using concrete nails or
cement adhesive.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Special Circumstance Installation
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4. Working from right to left, position the molding to fit
into the track on the floor. Gently push the molding
onto the track until the entire piece is securely
installed.
Many professionals recommend using a miter saw with a carbon tipped blade to cut your
molding to ensure you get clean, smooth cuts. When cutting pre-finished molding, cut into the
pre-finished side first to avoid chipping the finish.
During your installation always handle your molding carefully (especially pre-finished moldings)
to ensure you do not scratch, dent or chip the finish. If you choose to nail molding to the walls or
subfloor, most professionals recommend pre-drilling holes to help ensure the molding does not
split or crack. Additionally, do not nail too closely to the end of the molding to avoid splitting.
Using Shims for Floating Floor Installations
Installing molding for floating floors is slightly different than for glue or nail/staple installations.
Since floating floors rest upon the subfloor, you should use shims at the edges of the bamboo
flooring to support the flooring and molding (like a foundation). Shims should butt up against the
pad underlayment and extend approximately ¼” beyond the flooring. Shims are either nailed or
glued to the subfloor. When you install the molding, it should extend over the shims and the
edge of the flooring.
Using T-Molding for Interior Doorways
Doorways can be tricky during installations because they are narrow. It is sometimes hard to
continue laying even, consistent boards into another room. You can use T-molding to join
bamboo flooring in connected rooms, especially if the doorway is less than 6” wide. However,
flooring that is “laced in” or laid continuously from room to room provides a more professional
look. T-molding can also be used to transition between your bamboo floor and another floor of
similar height.
T-Molding can be used for glue or nail/staple down installation
methods. If you’re installation a floating floor, most professional
installers will highly recommend using T-molding in any doorway
that is less than 6’ wide. For large floating floor installations (40ft
or more), T-molding is also used to provide expansion joints.
When installing T-molding, always factor in adequate expansion space between the molding
and the flooring. There should be at least 1 1/8” gap between the two flooring surfaces.
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1. Measure and cut your T-molding to fit snugly in the door frame.
2. Position the T-molding approximately where you want it between the bamboo flooring
and the door threshold to ensure it fits properly BEFORE securing it.
3. Apply a thin line of adhesive on one side of the T-molding.
4. Attach the molding to one side of the flooring and press down firmly to ensure a tight
bond. The molding should overlap the other side of flooring at least a ¼ inch.
D TIP: If installing between two bamboo floors, glue the molding to the bamboo on
one side only. If installing between bamboo and another flooring type (such as
ceramic tile) glue the molding to the other flooring type so the bamboo floor has
room to expand and contract without affecting the position of the molding.
Ì IMPORTANT: Never glue the molding directly to the floor as the space between the
top of the floor and the bottom of the molding is need for expansion.
Using End Molding for Exterior Doorways
End molding (also called threshold molding) is used along exterior doorways or to transition to a
flooring surface that is similar in height to the bamboo floor (such as tile or high pile carpet). End
molding can also be used around fixed objects like fireplaces and brickwork.
1. Measure and cut your end molding to fit snugly in the door frame.
2. Apply a thin line of adhesive on one side of the end molding.
3. Position and attach the end molding to the subfloor between the bamboo flooring and
exterior doorway. The molding should butt up against the exterior doorway and overlap
the bamboo floor by ½” to ¾”.
Ì IMPORTANT: Do not attach the molding directly to the bamboo floor as the floor
needs room to expand and contract below the molding.
*
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Special Circumstance Installation
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Working around Vents
Working around vents, piping and other fixed objects is a necessary part of installing any
bamboo floor. Since each object is unique, measure and cut carefully. Always leave a ½”
expansion/contraction gap between the fixed object and the flooring. These gaps will be covered
by vent covers, pipe rings or molding. Always ensure the lip of the vent is wide enough to
adequately cover the expansion gap.
Installing Bamboo Flooring on Stairs
There are two methods for installing bamboo flooring on stairs:
•
Using prefabricated bamboo stair treads and risers. Stair treads combine the flooring and
nosing into one piece as opposed to installing both separately.
•
Using the same bamboo flooring as for your floor and adding stair nosing.
When installing stairs, you can begin with the top step and work your way down or begin at the
bottom and work your way up. If working from the bottom up, ALWAYS take care when using
and resting tools on your newly installed bamboo stairs. Protect your new flooring from nicks
and scratches by using cardboard between any tools and the bamboo flooring.
All flooring installed on stairs should be glued (with a non-water based adhesive) as well as
nailed or screwed down every 8” for safety. You can fill all nail/screw holes with matching filler
once you’re finished with your installation.
Many existing staircases have nosing already built into the stair subfloor. While some
professionals suggest cutting the nosing off, this method can violate building codes in many
areas. In most cases, it is easier to add plywood to each riser so that the existing nosing
becomes flush with the riser. This not only avoids building code issues, it also enables you to
remove the plywood down the road if you ever change the type of flooring on your stairs.
If you are refinishing the wall stringers, do all sanding, painting and installing BEFORE you
begin installing your bamboo flooring. Additionally, after completing the stairs, you may need to
caulk and paint around the sides of each stair tread and riser to hide any defects.
For help estimating how much flooring you’ll need for your stairs installation, use the Advanced
Estimator tool on FindAnyFloor.com.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Special Circumstance Installation
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Completing Stairs with Stair Tread
Completing stairs with stair tread is somewhat easier than using bamboo boards since the stair
treads are already pre-cut to the width of the stairs. Some manufacturer’s offer two types of stair
tread:
•
Stair tread designed to be used in a stairwell with walls
on both sides (also called a boxed stair system).
•
Stair tread designed to be used in open stairwells (in
which you’ll see the tread from the side like the image
to the right).
When using this stair treads, you can choose to install the tread then the riser or the riser then
the tread. Installing the tread then the riser usually creates more professional looking stairs,
especially if you choose to paint your stair risers a complimentary color for a more dramatic
looking staircase.
‡
NOTE: There may be some color differences between the flooring and the
risers/treads. Like with your flooring, randomize treads and risers from various boxes
to distribute the color variations.
1. If you are installing flooring over existing stairs, cut and add plywood to each riser so
that the existing nosing becomes flush with the riser
2. Starting at the bottom of the stairs, take measurements for the first bamboo stair riser:
ƒ
Measure lengthwise at the top of the stair riser.
ƒ
Measure lengthwise at the bottom of the stair riser.
ƒ
Measure widthwise between the two stair treads. (If you are installing the riser on top
of the tread, take the tread width into consideration.)
‡
NOTE: There may be some slight variations in measurements between the bottom
and top of the stair riser due to how the stairs were initially installed. Some
installers use these first measurements to make a template for all other stair risers.
While other installers measure each stair riser separately as there can be minor
variations due to walls not being completely straight.
*
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3. With a utility knife and straight edge, score the bamboo stair riser where you will be
making the cut based on your measurements. Scoring helps you identify where to cut
as well as breaks through the wear layer and provides some protection from marring
the bamboo.
4. Cut the bamboo stair riser using your score mark as a guide.
D TIP: Radial arm saws work well to make straight cuts. Always cut into the prefinished
side of the bamboo flooring first.
5. Install the newly cut bamboo riser onto the stairs but do NOT glue yet. Make sure the
riser fits snugly between the walls (and tread, if necessary).
6. Apply a thin, wavy line of adhesive on the back of the bamboo riser then fit into place
on the stair riser subfloor. Take care not to get any adhesive on the newly installed
bamboo stair tread.
7. Top nail the bamboo riser to the stair subfloor:
ƒ
Place two nails on either side of the riser near each wall.
ƒ
Place two nails in the center of the riser.
D TIP: Make sure all nails are in line with each other throughout the installation for a
clean, professional look.
*
8. Take measurements for the first bamboo stair tread:
ƒ
Measure lengthwise at the front of the stair tread.
ƒ
Measure lengthwise at the back of the stair tread.
ƒ
Measure widthwise from the front of the stair to the riser. (If you are installing the
riser behind the tread, take the riser width into consideration.)
‡
NOTE: There may be some slight variations in measurements between the bottom
and top of the stair riser due to how the stairs were initially installed. Some
installers use these first measurements to make a template for all other stair treads.
While other installers measure each stair tread separately as there can be minor
variations due to walls not being completely straight.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Special Circumstance Installation
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9. Using a straight edge as a guide, score the bamboo stair tread using a utility knife
where you will be making the cut based on your measurements. Scoring helps you
identify where to cut as well as breaks through the wear layer and provides some
protection from marring.
10. Cut the bamboo stair tread using your score mark as a guide.
D TIP: Radial arm saws work well to make straight cuts. Always cut into the prefinished
side of the bamboo flooring first.
*
11. Install the newly cut bamboo tread onto the stairs but do NOT glue yet. Make sure the
tread fits snugly between the walls. Use a level to ensure the bamboo flooring sits flat
on the stairwell subfloor. If adjustments are needed, use shims to level the bamboo
tread.
12. Apply a thin, wavy line of adhesive on the back of the bamboo tread then fit into place
on the stair tread subfloor. Ensure the bamboo tread is level on the subfloor.
13. Top nail the bamboo tread to the stair subfloor:
ƒ
Place three nails on either side of the bamboo tread near each wall.
ƒ
Place three nails in the center of the bamboo tread.
D TIP: Make sure all nails are in line with each other throughout the installation for a
clean, professional look.
‡
NOTE: Some professional installers also recommend nailing the front of the tread
to the riser below it. Place one nail on each side of the tread near the wall and two
nails near the middle of the tread.
Ì IMPORTANT: Always ensure stair treads are nailed and glued securely to the
subfloor. This is the part of the stairs that gets the most use. Improperly secured stair
treads that come loose during use can cause serious injuries and can damage the
surrounding flooring.
*
14. Repeat the measuring, cutting and installation process for each stair tread and riser
until you reach the top of the stairs.
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15. Use stair nosing or other molding to transition to the type of flooring at the top of the
staircase. Install any other moldings as desired.
Completing Stairs with Stair Nosing
Completing stairs with bamboo flooring and nosing gives your stairs the same look and feel as
your new bamboo floor. There are two types of stair nosing (in a variety of thickness):
•
Flush stair nose is used for full or partial staircases.
•
Overlap stair nose is used for single steps adjacent to a floated bamboo floor.
‡
NOTE: Floating bamboo on full staircases is NOT recommended for safety reasons.
Bamboo installed on stairs should be glued and nailed down to ensure the flooring
does not come loose during use.
Stair nosing should always be installed first and overlap the
riser. This method ensures that the stair nosing hides any
cuts made to the flooring installed on the riser as well as
provides the starting point when installing flooring on the stair
tread. Stair nose can also be used to transition into other split
level rooms (such as sunken living rooms) using the same
installation method as with stairs.
Like with the rest of your floor, when using bamboo flooring on stairs, you must still provide
expansion/contraction space around the perimeter of the flooring.
1. If you are installing flooring over existing stairs, cut and add plywood to each riser so
that the existing nosing becomes flush with the riser
2. Beginning at the bottom of the stairs, measure then cut the bamboo flooring for the first
riser. If you need to cut a board widthwise to fit, install the cut board at the top of the
riser so the cut is hidden by the stair nose. When measuring, be sure to leave adequate
expansion space.
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3. Apply a thin wavy line of adhesive on the back of each cut bamboo board then flip over
and install on the riser. Top nail the bamboo forming the risers into place near each
edge as well as in the middle.
D TIP: Make sure all nails are in line with each other throughout the installation for a
clean, professional look.
*
4. Measure and cut a piece of flush stair nosing for the first step taking into account any
expansion space.
Apply a thin wavy line of glue on the back of the flush stair nosing then fit into place.
Top nail the nosing to the stairs along the sides as well as in the middle.
5. Measure and cut the bamboo flooring for the first stair tread. If you need to cut a board
widthwise to fit, install the cut board at the back of the riser so that the cut is hidden by
the stair riser. When measuring, be sure to leave adequate expansion space.
6. Apply a thin, wavy line of adhesive on the back of each cut bamboo board then flip over
and install on the stair tread. Use blue painters tape to tape the stair nose to the first
row of bamboo flooring on the stairs. This ensures the nosing and the flooring stay
tightly fitted together as you install the second piece of flooring at the back of the tread.
Top nail the bamboo tread into place near each edge as well as in the middle.
7. Work your way up the stairs, installing flooring on the riser first then adding the flush
stair nose, then adding flooring on the stair tread.
8. Once you reach the top of the stairs, install any transition pieces and other moldings, as
desired.
Stair Nose and Floating Floor Installations
Both flush and overlap stair nose can be used to transition between sunken rooms when
installing a floating floor; however, the installation methods for each is slightly different.
When using flush stair nose for floating installations, glue or nail shims to the subfloor below
where the stair nose will be placed. The shims should extend just under the edge of the bamboo
floor and butt up against the underlayment. (This usually takes two or more shims.) When the
stair nose is placed upon the shims, it should support the stair nose so that it does not bend or
break during use. Once the shims are in place, glue the stair nose directly to the shims. Use
blue painters tape to hold the stair nose in place.
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When using overlap stair nose for floating installations, butt the shim up against the
underlayment while keeping the shim approximately 1¾” from the edge of the riser. (The overlap
stair nose should NOT rest on the shim.) Glue or nail the shim in place. When installing the
floating floor over the shim, ensure at least a ¼” of shim is showing from beneath the floating
floor (on the riser side). Then glue or nail the overlap stair nose to the subfloor so that it covers
the riser on one side and extends over the shim past the top of the floating floor on the other
side. When installing overlap stair nose over a floating floor, do not glue directly to the flooring
as the bamboo needs adequate expansion space.
Working around Fireplaces and Brickwork
There are two ways to install bamboo flooring around fireplaces and brickwork:
•
Installing flush to the brickwork and adding end molding to hide expansion spaces.
•
Undercutting the brickwork and installing the flooring underneath the brickwork to hide
any expansion spaces.
Installing Flush to Brickwork
Installing bamboo flooring flush to brickwork is much like installing flooring up to walls or
doorways.
1. Measure and cut your end molding to fit along the fireplace or brickwork. Be sure to
factor in your expansion spacing.
2. Apply a thin line of adhesive on one side of the end molding.
3. Position and attach the end molding to the subfloor between the bamboo flooring and
fireplace/brickwork. The molding should butt up against the brickwork and overlap the
bamboo floor by ½” to ¾”.
Ì IMPORTANT: Do not attach the molding directly to the bamboo floor as the floor
needs room to expand and contract below the molding.
*
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Undercutting Brickwork
Undercutting brickwork (much like undercutting door casings)
provides for a more seamless looking floor.
1. Use the scrap piece of bamboo flooring to bring your saw
up to the right height beside the brickwork. Make sure to
account for your underlayment in the total height.
Use a pencil to mark or draw a line at the top of the flooring/underlayment. This is how
much you’ll be cutting off the bottom of the brickwork so that the flooring will fit
underneath it.
2. Determine how deep to make your cut. You should allow for up to a ½” of flooring under
the brickwork plus your expansion space.
3. Use the saw to cut along the line you drew.
D TIP: Consider wearing a respirator while cutting so you do not inhale fine particles
of dust.
*
Now when you reach the brickwork or fireplace, you can cut your bamboo flooring to fit under
the brickwork.
Using End Molding for Carpet Transitions
End molding is used to transition between bamboo flooring and carpet. Re-tack carpet at all
points where it meets your new bamboo floor for a more professional look and to ensure the
carpet does not come loose during use.
1. Measure and cut your end molding to fit snugly along the edge of the carpet (between
the carpet and bamboo).
2. Apply a thin line of adhesive on one side of the end molding.
3. Position and attach the end molding to the subfloor between the bamboo and carpet.
The molding should butt up against the carpet and overlap the bamboo floor by ½” to
¾”.
Ì IMPORTANT: Do not attach the molding directly to the bamboo floor as the floor
needs room to expand and contract below the molding.
*
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Using Flush Reducer for Vinyl Transitions
Flush reducer is used to transition from bamboo floors to vinyl, concrete or any floor that is lower
than your bamboo floor. You should use flush reducer when the bamboo floor is parallel to the
vinyl since the tongue of the bamboo flooring will line up with the groove of the flush reducer.
D TIP: You can use overlap reducer if your bamboo floor is perpendicular to the vinyl.
1. Measure and cut your flush reducer to fit snugly along the edge of the vinyl (between
the vinyl and bamboo).
2. Apply a thin line of adhesive on the bottom edge of the flush reducer. If recommended
by your flooring manufacturer, glue the tongue of the flooring to the groove of the
reducer.
3. Fit the tongue of the flooring into the groove of the reducer. Position and attach the
reducer to the subfloor between the bamboo flooring and the vinyl. The molding should
butt up against the vinyl and be flush with the bamboo floor.
4. Apply painters tape along the full length of the seam between the molding and the
bamboo floor to hold the molding in place until the adhesive sets completely.
Using Overlap Reducer for Vinyl Transitions
Overlap reducer is most often used in floating installations to transition from bamboo floors to
vinyl, concrete or any flooring that is lower than your bamboo floor. Overlap reducer can be
used in glue and nail/staple installations when your bamboo floor is perpendicular to the vinyl
since there is no tongue and groove to line up to like with flush reducer.
1. Measure and cut your overlap reducer to fit snugly along the edge of the vinyl (between
the vinyl and bamboo floor).
2. Apply a thin line of adhesive on the bottom edge of the overlap reducer.
3. Position and attach the reducer to the subfloor between the bamboo and vinyl floors.
The molding should butt up against the vinyl and be flush with the bamboo floor.
4. Apply painters tape along the full length of the seam between the reducer and the
bamboo floor to hold the molding in place until the adhesive sets completely.
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Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Finishing the Job
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FINISHING THE JOB
Congratulations! You’ve reached the home stretch of your bamboo flooring installation. All that’s
left to do is:
•
Installing Wall Base and Quarter Round Trim
•
Correcting Defects
•
Sealing Moisture Prone Areas
Installing Wall Base and Quarter Round Trim
Installing wall base and quarter round trim hides the expansion and contraction spaces as well
as puts the finishing touches on your room. Base shoe molding can be used instead of wall
base in areas where wall base will not fit (such as under cabinets).
Ì IMPORTANT: Do not nail or glue the wall base or trim directly to your floor. These
moldings should fit snugly, but not tightly, so your bamboo floor can expand and
contract naturally.
1. Measure and cut the wall base and quarter round trim for your installation area.
2. Remove the spacers along the wall.
3. Using a construction adhesive, apply a thin, wavy line down the length of the wall base
molding.
4. Gently press the wall base molding to the wall. Nail the
molding to the wall at an angle every 16”.
D TIP: Always nail the wall base to the wall at an angle.
If you nail straight into the wall, the nails may not hold
well into the drywall.
**
5. Apply a thin, wavy line down the length of the quarter round molding.
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6. Gently press the quarter round molding to the bottom of
the wall base molding. Nail the molding to the wall at an
angle every 16”.
D TIP: Always nail the wall base to the wall at an angle.
If you nail straight into the wall, the nails may not hold
well into the drywall.
*
Correcting Defects
Once all your bamboo flooring, transitions and trim is installed, use wood filler, putty sticks or
stain to fill nail holes and correct any flooring defects. Always use fillers designed to be used
with bamboo flooring. Other fillers may damage your new bamboo floor.
If there are significant gaps between the molding and the wall, use calk to help hide the flaws.
Sealing Moisture Prone Areas
Some manufacturers recommend that expansion spaces be sealed around moisture prone
areas (such as outside doors and near kitchen appliances). Check with your manufacturer for
specific recommendations. If none are provided, seal the area with weather stripping and a
silicone sealant.
© 2008 FindAnyFloor.com. All rights reserved. All FindAnyFloor.com content (PDF’s, text,
photographs, graphics, code, applications) is protected by copyright in the U.S. and other countries.
Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Copyright and Usage Information
Page 78
COPYRIGHT AND USAGE INFORMATION
This document is copyrighted by Bayside USA, LLC d/b/a FindAnyFloor.com
(“FindAnyFloor.com”). Reproduction, copying, or redistribution (in full or in part) of this
document is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of FindAnyFloor.com. This
document may not be linked to directly from another webpage (i.e. “hot-linked” or “inline linked”)
without the express written permission of FindAnyFloor.com. Permission for any of the above is
granted only when certain limited criteria are met.
To request such permission please completely fill out the web form located at:
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You will need to include all of the following information in your request:
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3. Where and how copies will be distributed and to what audience (e.g. at a retail flooring store
provided to customers)
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Thank you for your cooperation.
© 2008 FindAnyFloor.com. All rights reserved. All FindAnyFloor.com content (PDF’s, text,
photographs, graphics, code, applications) is protected by copyright in the U.S. and other countries.
Installing Prefinished Bamboo Flooring - Legal Disclaimer and Liability Release
Page 79
LEGAL DISCLAIMER AND LIABILITY RELEASE
The instructions, guides, and other information accessible from FindAnyFloor.com are provided
for informational purposes only and we make no guarantees about the completeness, accuracy,
or fitness for any particular purpose of any of the information. We accept no responsibility for
how you or anyone else may use the information. We accept no responsibility for any injury,
loss, claim, or damage arising out of or in any way connected with the information presented
herein. Individuals should always contact a professional, their retailer, or the manufacturer for
specific instructions and information on a particular type of flooring, proper installation, and care
procedures.
© 2008 FindAnyFloor.com. All rights reserved. All FindAnyFloor.com content (PDF’s, text,
photographs, graphics, code, applications) is protected by copyright in the U.S. and other countries.
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